Xylotek at the 12th International Wood Construction Forum

Xylotek is presenting at the 12th edition of the International Wood Construction Forum at Lille's Grand Palais.

Xylotek's Oscar Emanuel will be presenting at the Forum Bois Construction Conference in Lille on 14th April 2023.

On Friday, April 14, 2023 Xylotek is showcasing the work the UK-based advanced timber structure leaders did as part of world's first demountable arena.  This presentation is part of the International Wood Construction Forum’s "Reversible assembly - assembling to be dismantled” programme (workshop C6 running from 2pm to 3.30pm on 14/04/23).

About the world's first demountable arena

After reviewing more than 280 projects, the International Wood Construction Forum selected demountable arena as a model project for working with timber in a way that promotes sustainable design practices.  A critical element in this has been the decision to create a demountable structure for the venue’s auditorium which in addition to the seating includes entrance and bar areas, vertical circulation, fire escape corridors, and technical zones.  ABBA Arena’s auditorium facilities can be reused at a new future location, forgoing the carbon intensive exercise of building a venue from scratch

The four storey tall auditorium is located in Stratford, London and has a footprint of about 80 x 50m.  It consists of 1650 unique cross laminated panels of dimensions up to 9.9m long and sits within, and structurally independent of, the steel-framed enveloping walls and roof of the arena.  

Xylotek joined the project team during its design development, initially as design consultants, to develop a solution wholly in mass timber (as an alternative to a steel framed approach). Having proven the viability for a cost-effective, demountable, scheme in cross laminated timber, Xylotek then were appointed for its full design, fabrication and installation. The team worked with CLT supplier Hasslacher who produced and machined each of the unique panels which were delivered, just-in-time, in batches to the Stratford site.

The 600-tonne auditorium structure has no groundworks. Driven again by the need for demountability, the CLT structure is carried on over 300 JackPad portable foundations which sit directly on the tarmac of the existing car park on the site.  Each JackPad was adjusted vertically to account for variation in the car park level and keep the CLT structure level. The large number of pads means that bearing pressures are low.  

The auditorium is wholly demountable.  It is currently hosting the virtual ABBA Voyage concerts and has welcomed over 1m people through an external 7000 sqm timber rainscreen made with 1400 finger-jointed larch fins. The approximately 15km long rainscreen was also produced by Xylotek.

Xylotek’s Founding Director, Oscar Emanuel, who will be presenting the demountable arena project in Lille describes the working process,

"The project presented exciting challenges.  The non-orthogonal design – derived from the overall hexagonal form of the Arena -  added significant geometric complexity compared to a more conventional regular orthogonal CLT structure.  We therefore established a rigorous process of 3D geometric modelling and data handling, integrating fabrication and install-sequence information into the model from the outset, and working closely with Hasslacher to provide CADCAM ready data. Given the geometric complexity, it was decided that a separate installation drawing was needed for every panel. These were produced with programming help from Mule Studio."

Find out more about the conference and speakers here.

About the author:
Oscar Emanuel
Managing Director


Demountable Auditorium - ABBA Arena

Demountable CLT theatre structure

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