The Study Centre at Darwin College, Cambridge (Fig. 4.2), which occupies a narrow site overlooking the River Cam, is designed to accommodate both books and computers. It is a load-bearing masonry and timber building which features the extensive use of English oak, including massive paired columns to the first-floor reading room which is partly can-tilevered over the river. The columns in green oak have characteristic shakes and splits giving an impression of great age, and these contrast with the refined oak and oak veneer of the floors, windows frames and furniture. Joints in the green oak are held by stainless steel fixings, which can be tightened as the timber dries and shrinks. The use of oak throughout gives unity to the building, which sits comfortably within its highly sensitive location.

sand wood concrete lightweight concrete plasterboard brickwork mineral fibre glass low energy materials

plastics steel medium energy materials plastics steel aluminium high energy materials

Relative embodied CO2 of various materials by weight

Includes CO2 generated through extraction, manufacture and construction processes

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