The College of Creative Arts at Massey University, Wellington is constructed beautifully from laminated veneer lumber (LVL). The building is designed for multiple uses and the timber allowed for this flexibility.
The LVL box beams, which by nature of construction are hollow on the inside, are secured by a steel footing that rises up inside the wood to a height of 2 metres. I discovered that this rather unusual technique was used to protect against vandals with chainsaws!
It contains two floors of large open spaces, used as teaching labs.
The building is earthquake proof due to these stress relievers. Apparently it uses the world’s first post tension frame technique.
The feedback from the students about the building has been very positive and is evident by how busy it gets. Students love the environment, the natural ventilation and the design material.
After a short, 25 minute flight to Nelson on the south island we arrived at Nelson Pine Industries’ Medium Density Fibre (MDF) and LVL manufacturing plant. It is the largest MDF producer in the world – 25 acres all under one roof. The plant employs 200 people. 180 trucks arrive at the plant each day delivering logs. 80 trucks leave each day full of finished product. Unfortunately rules meant that we weren’t allowed to take any photographs – not so helpful for this blog.
‘We believe that wood can substitute for concrete and steel in many cases. LVL is the product of the future.’ said CEO Nelson Pine Industries.
LVL is sold out until the middle of May. MDF is sold out until the end of April.
Despite the rules, I did manage to get a few photos at the end of the tour…