Drawing inspiration from the surrounding landscape, the flower paintings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the upturned boats on the seashore, Enric Miralles developed a design that he saw as “growing out of the land” where sustainability plays a key role.
Wood is used throughout the complex but is particularly prominent in the main debating chamber. With no internal supports, the roof of the chamber is supported on giant glue-laminated trusses, which span up to 22m from a curved steel tri-girder on the eastern façade to a series of tall concrete masts on the western edge. Secondary elements support the roof above the trusses so that the curved timber-clad ceiling appears to float.
With an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating for environmental performance in the areas of health and well-being, energy, transport, material selection and water usage and high scores in biodiversity, ozone-friendly design, and efficient use of water on site, the building’s sustainability credentials are equally impressive.
Elsewhere in the building there is extensive use of wood, whether in the bespoke furniture, the 600 or more solid timber doors, or in the roof lights featuring bow trusses made from laminated oak.
Source: Supplied to wood for good by BRE in a pdf of case studies.