The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has just released a short film celebrating the beauty, strength, versatility and sustainable credentials of American tulipwood cross-laminated timber (CLT) which was used to construct MultiPly, one of the Landmark Projects of the London Design Festival 2018 (LDF18).
MultiPly is a nine-metre high, carbon-neutral, flexible construction made up of 17 modules of American tulipwood CLT panels, manufactured with digitally fabricated joints in the UK.
Visitors are encouraged to explore its maze-like series of interconnected stairs, corridors and open spaces that overlap and intertwine.
In the evenings, the pavilion becomes a quiet, contemplative space, and subtle lighting reflects the beauty of this natural material.
Developed by AHEC, designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects, and engineered by ARUP, the installation addresses two of the biggest challenges of our time. It demonstrates that modular construction systems can help solve the pressing need for housing, and the urgency to fight climate change can be supported by the use of sustainable materials.
In 2016/17, 184,000 new homes were built in the UK, a shortfall of approximately 66,000 homes. To increase supply to meet demand, we must change the way we think and build. MultiPly has been conceived and constructed to encourage visitors to re-think the way we design and build our homes and cities.
“We are at a crisis point in terms of both housing and CO2 emissions, and we believe that building in a versatile, sustainable material such as tulipwood is an important way of addressing these issues” explains Andrew Waugh, co-founder of Waugh Thistleton Architects.
Tulipwood is sourced from the Eastern United States, where the hardwood forest area is expanding at the rate of one football pitch every minute, and already exceeds an area equivalent to France and Spain combined. The 43m2 of tulipwood used to construct MultiPly is replaced with natural growth in the American forest in just five minutes.
MultiPly will remain open to the public in the Sackler Courtyard of the V&A until Monday 1st October, after which it will be moved to a new location. Thanks to its modular design, the installation will be easily taken apart, transported like a piece of flat-packed furniture, and reassembled quickly and quietly in less than a week.