Cardboard

The cardboard classroom at Westborough School, Essex (Fig. 15.3) illustrates the potential of this largely recycled product as a useful construction material. A combination of flat composite panels and tubes forms the structure of this building which has an estimated life of 20 years.

In the recycling process, waste paper and cardboard are broken down and converted to pulp, which is a suspension of cellulose fibres in water. The pulp flows onto a conveyor belt, where it is drained of the excess water and compressed, causing the fibres to felt

Fig. 15.2 Straw bales in construction. Architects and Photograph: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Fig. 15.3 Cardboard Classroom - Westborough School, Essex. Engineers: Buro Happold. Architects: Cottrell and Vermeulen. Photograph: Copyright Adam Wilson/Buro Happold

Fig. 15.3 Cardboard Classroom - Westborough School, Essex. Engineers: Buro Happold. Architects: Cottrell and Vermeulen. Photograph: Copyright Adam Wilson/Buro Happold together producing a long roll of paper. Flat cardboard sheets are formed by gluing together successive layers of paper. Tubes are manufactured from multiple layers of spirally wound paper plies, starting on a steel tube former of the appropriate size, the adhesive being starch or PVA glue. The first and last layers of paper can be of a different quality, for example, impregnated or coloured to create the required surface finish. For the Westborough School building the flat sections are composite panels consisting of multiple cardboard sheets and honeycomb cardboard interlay-ers, surrounded by a timber frame to facilitate ease of fixing between units. Adjacent roof and walls panels are articulated to ensure overall structural rigidity.

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