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The structure comprises 17 interconnecting modules, made from a total of 102 60mm and 100 mm thick x 2.6m long cross laminated timber panels (CLT) finger-jointed by Glenalmond Timber and fabricated at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC).

Working with CSIC rather than an established continental CLT producer enabled Waugh Thistleton and Arup to have more control through each stage of the manufacturing process and refine the intricate design.

The recently remodelled Sackler Courtyard, where the structure sits, is the roof to the subterranean gallery below and has no foundations adding a unique demand to the project. The lightweight property of tulipwood CLT lent itself perfectly to the space and meant Waugh Thistleton could go even bigger with the design, which stands at 9 metres tall.

Carolina Bartram, Project Director, Arup commented, “Continuing our exploration of hardwood CLT on installations such as Timber Wave, The Smile and Endless Stair, MultiPly provides a playful opportunity to experiment and innovate with this tactile and adaptable material. The seemingly simple series of stacked boxes are a complex engineering challenge, made more interesting by the fact the sculpture sits on the newly completed, elegant Sackler Courtyard at the V&A. It is a privilege that as engineers for the Sackler Courtyard, we are also contributing engineering designs for MultiPly.”

Highlighting the potential for the speed of construction of the modules was paramount. All of the joints have been digitally manufactured by Stage One with great precision and, to make the design even more streamlined, there are only two steel construction details. These clever design details means the structure arrives and is assembled in under a week.