Murray Grove – The original timber tower

Murray Grove is the first urban high-rise housing project to be constructed entirely from prefabricated solid timber, from the load-bearing walls and floor slabs to the stair and lift cores.

The nine-storey tower is built from a tight honeycomb of structural panels, with a timber core providing stability, and inset balconies with structural balustrades to strengthen the outer structural wall.

Completed within 49 weeks, and delivering 29 fully insulated and soundproof apartments, the project successfully demonstrated for the first time that CLT has the potential to be a financially viable, environmentally sustainable and beautiful replacement for concrete and steel in high-density housing.

Its distinctive pixelated façade, made up 2,500 individual panels in three hues, arranged to capture how the shadows fell on the site of the building, means that the modern, Gerhard Richter’s abstracts - inspired aesthetic fits comfortably into its context. The lightweight wood-pulp cladding avoids adding unnecessary bulk to the tower.

The exemplar project has spearheaded the introduction of CLT in the UK, and pioneered an international movement in tall timber buildings.