The LCT1: A Hybrid Construction System From Research to Development

The LCT1: A Hybrid Construction System From Research to Development

Meet the Life Cycle Tower One, the first unclad timber building to ever be built with the LCT1 modular system, a Research & Development project under the firm CREE. The 8 story building completed in 2012 was mainly built to be an office building, but it also functions as a sort of showroom /museum for visitors to learn all about the sustainable solutions developed by the company itself. They call it the “Life Cycle Hub”.

LCT1 – photo by Norman A Müller

A timber structure represents a much more sustainable building construction material than concrete, because of its reduced carbon footprint and the effect wooden environments provide to human beings. As a LEED Accredited Professional I consider that building with a system that reduces carbon footprint, is highly important for the achievement of high performing buildings among other virtues. The LCT1 is a modular system structure that allows developers to build up multiple stories faster with a low amount of workers with an environmentally conscious process.

The modules are built using timber as the main mold which are then concrete filled for rigidity. Aesthetically, makes wood the main materiality in its interior and exterior if desired. Slabs are basically pre-tensed concrete slabs encased in a timber base which is further transported to the construction site as a modular system. Columns are Glulam which makes the structure lighter than the use of concrete. Other materials involved in the prefabrication and finish process, are OSB or Oriented Strand Boards and Cementitious Panels.

Take a look at the following video, depicting the fast construction measured in amount of workers and man-hours.

“Cree’s systematised construction method allows high-rise buildings with up to 30 storeys and up to 100 metres (328 fts.) high to be completed in only six months. As well as revolutionising the concept of high-quality and cost-effective building, the patented component technology also fundamentally changes the earlier image of a construction site thanks to factory production of prefabricated components: in the Cree system, every building is erected using considerably less dusty methods, with much lower emissions, than the usual technique of placing block upon block.”

The amazing hybrid modular system competes with concrete alone in many ways. As it is comprised of wood and concrete merged into one prefabricated module, many construction factors speed up at the same time. Take a look at the following graph where CREE’s system is blue and Concrete alone is gray.

As you can see on the graphical comparison, modularity makes an integral part of reducing the amount of construction time, structural weight, cost assurance and material volume. Sustainable and efficient projects always look into efficient construction where waste is also reduced, just as this system does. CO2 storage also forms an integral part in the modules and is considered as prefabricated module inside any building designed with this construction system. All parts can be prefabricated, including building cores, shafts, ceilings and structure.

Find out more about this system at CREE’s main website and share it with the world. We need to embrace the greatness of efficient systems and materials.

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.