Scion is a NZ Crown research institute that specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product, wood-derived materials, and other biomaterial sectors.

Scion’s new multi-storey timber building is progressing as the massive components, assembled into diagonal grids, are secured into place in this striking structure. TimberLab was engaged by RDT Project Management under an Early Contractor Involvement agreement to assist in the development of a fully laminated, LVL diagrid solution. We worked alongside Dunning Thornton Structural Engineers, RTA Studio Architects and the client, Scion Research; collaborating with Irving Smith Architects in the design of the building which features a three-storey timber diagrid (diagonal grids) with central atrium and wrap-around diagonal curtainwall cladding.

The diamond and triangle diagrid wall frames and floor / roof beams were manufactured by TimberLab from precision CNC-cut laminated timber veneer lumber; Scion’s choice of LVL for the diagrid being relatively unique for this type of structure. Ready-to-assemble sections were delivered to site, complete with fittings where a specialist team assembled the pieces. TimberLab is also supplyng the Glulam and cross laminated timber entry canopies.

Diagrids are an efficient way to provide strength and stiffness and require less material than traditional structures. To make sure the diagrid was up to the job, the strength of the components was tested at Scion. An apex portion was subjected to 45 tonnes of downward pressure then pulled upward by a 31.5 tonne force. A node section, where diagrid components are integrated with a horizontal member, was subjected to 20 tonnes of compression to try (unsuccessfully) to twist the horizontal component. Doug Gaunt, Science Leader for Wood Processing at Scion, says, all the pieces tested passed with flying colours. “Both the elements tested, comfortably performed even at the maximum design loads the engineers had calculated.”

Construction is expected to be completed by end of April 2020, followed by internal fit out and open for business mid-2020. When completed, the ground floor will be open to the public and showcase not only the innovative structure, but also Scion’s research across the forest and biomass value chain.

Check out the Scion video here