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In the heart of London’s Shoreditch, The Black & White Building is the first TOG workspace to be built from scratch – and entirely from timber from the ground up.
An architectural collaboration between TOG and sustainable-construction experts Waugh Thistleton Architects, the 17.8-metre building is constructed wholly from renewable timbers, with raw-wood interiors by Daytrip Studios inspired by the neighbourhood’s creative heritage.
Within its striking louvred exterior (made from tulipwood, an American hardwood), The Black & White Building houses 28 office spaces, six meeting rooms, assorted focus areas and break-out spaces, and a dedicated yoga and barre studio, topped with a dramatic city-view roof terrace – a building driven by wellbeing and designed for the future of work.
Above all else, The Black & White Building demonstrates what architect Andrew Waugh calls ‘an architecture of efficiency’ – in which every element of the building has a clear purpose, nothing is superfluous, and carbon expenditure is minimised in both its construction and everyday operations. It’s a blueprint for a model of construction that is rapid, sustainable and, if we’re to have any hope of making London zero-carbon by 2050, precisely the approach we need to take.
Their research led them to Waugh Thistleton Architects – a firm responsible for pioneering timber designsfor over a decade, including landmark residential blocks such as Dalston Works and Murray Grove, as well as Vitsoe’s Leamington Spa HQ.
“When I heard that TOG were thinking about a new sustainable office building, it’s like I was standing in the queue for a nightclub and they put my favourite song on. I admire the fact they had the commitment and the courage to do this in the first place. They flew in the face of naysayers, and they took the lead. It was very bold of them.” – Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects
TOG and Waugh Thistleton set out to create a building that minimised carbon in both its construction and, once complete, its operations. The architects proposed a structure built from the ground up using cross-laminated timber (CLT) and laminated veneer lumber (LVL). These high-performance engineered wooden materials generate much less greenhouse gas emissions in the production than steel orcement, saving thousands of tonnes in CO2, while also being highly durable.
“The Black & White Building represents a major step forward for us, and –I hope –the wider industry too. It’s a statement of who we are and how we will approach sustainability; we don’t need to build the traditional way with concrete and steel anymore. We always retrofit when we can, and when we build new buildings in future, TOG is committed to constructing them from timber and other sustainable materials.” – Charlie Green, co-founder, TOG
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