Specifier Review
Waugh Thistleton Architects

Multiply by Waugh Thistleton Architects wins Wood Award

Waugh Thistleton Architects, in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP, has won the Small Project Category at the annual Wood Awards for its design of MultiPly.

The project is a carbon-neutral, modular cross-laminated tulipwood pavilion first unveiled at the V&A during the London Design Festival in September 2018.

The winners of the annual Wood Awards were announced at a ceremony held on 19th November at Carpenters’ Hall in London. Established in 1971, the Wood Awards aims to recognise and encourage outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.

MultiPly was one of London Design Festival’s Landmark projects, and a collaboration between Waugh Thistleton Architects, the American Hardwood Export Council and Arup.

“MultiPly is the first ever structure made from UK-manufactured CLT, and we are delighted the judges have selected it as a winner,” explains Andrew Waugh, co-founder of Waugh Thistleton Architects.

The judges praised how its simple design cleverly communicates the power of modularity.

The vertical maze of stacked modules and staircases creates labyrinthine spaces that intertwine, inviting people to explore the use of wood in architecture and reflect on how we build our homes and cities.

The pavilion has been shown in three locations, each iteration taking a different form. The unassuming assembly of modules belies the engineering challenges created by the thinness of panels, significant cantilevers, and the complexity of designing a structure that can be reduced to a set of parts.

MultiPly provided an opportunity to push the boundaries of CLT construction. Like a piece of flat-packed furniture, it arrives as a kit of parts and can be quietly assembled in under a week.

Designed around the principles: reduce, reuse, recycle, MultiPly demonstrates how panelized, CLT buildings can be reused and reconfigured at the end of their life. The original pavilion was taken apart and reassembled in two different locations: in front of the Building Centre in London, then on to Milan Design Week in 2019. It will be shown in a new iteration in Europe in 2020.

“The main ambition of MultiPly is to address how environmental challenges can be solved through innovative, affordable construction,” says Waugh. “We are at a crisis point in terms of both housing and CO2 emissions and we believe that building in a versatile, sustainable material such as tulipwood is an important way of addressing these issues.”

“Waugh Thistleton Architects has been pioneering innovative uses of wood in construction for decades. ‘MultiPly’ explores a new, more sustainable way of building, bringing together a readily available carbon-negative material – American tulipwood – with modular design,” says David Venables, European Director of AHEC. –


Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an engineered timber that can be used to build walls and floors making up the structure of entire buildings. It has a layered construction with the wooden planks turned at right angles in each successive layer, creating a panel with equal strength in both directions, similar to plywood.

Weight for weight, CLT is stronger than steel and concrete and can be machined to incredibly high tolerances. This makes it ideal for prefabrication and rapid assembly, reducing construction times by around 30%.

CLT is usually made of a softwood trees. Together with Arup, AHEC has started a process of experimenting with CLT made from fast-grown North American tulipwood.

The planks will be imported from the USA but the panels themselves will be manufactured in the UK’s own fledging CLT factory in Scotland. Testing has shown that the tulipwood is considerably stronger than spruce; it also has a superior appearance.


Waugh Thistleton is a research-oriented practice dedicated to designing buildings and places of the highest architectural quality that also acknowledge their impact on the environment.

The studio practices sustainability in the widest sense of the word, focusing not solely on energy in use, but on embodied energy and longevity.  The team believes passionately that sustainability and world-class design solutions should be one and the same thing. Its holistic approach is based on the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle.

Striving at every point to produce innovative and imaginative design solutions that harness leading technologies, the quality of its buildings and its commitment to the use of timber construction has earned them an international reputation in environmentally sustainable architecture and design.



For over 20 years the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has been at the forefront of wood promotion in Europe, successfully building a distinctive and creative brand for U.S. hardwoods. AHEC’s support for creative design projects such as The Wish List, Endless Stair and The Smile, for the London Design Festival demonstrate the performance potential of these sustainable materials and provide valuable inspiration.

AHEC pioneered the environmental impact assessment (EIA), an approach that has since been adopted by other industries. This measures a number of impacts: primary energy demand (from renewable and non-renewable resources); global warming potential; acidification potential; eutrophication potential; and, photochemical ozone creation potential.


Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. With over 80 offices in 35 countries Arup has more than 13,000 planners, designers, engineers and consultants delivering innovative projects across the world with creativity and passion.


The London Design Festival is a key constituent of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival.

Established in 2003 its role is to celebrate and promote London as the world’s design capital and gateway to the international design community and it has now established a reputation as one of the largest and most exciting design events in the world.

This year the Festival will run from 1523 September and over 400 events and installations will be on offer across the capital, from an exciting programme at the V&A to plus over 300 partners who will participate in the nineday Festival.


The Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in wood. The competition began in 1971 as the Carpenters’ Award and was rebranded in 2003 as the Wood Awards.

The Awards’ elite independent judging panel of professional experts and specialists not only judges the submitted entries but visits the shortlisted projects in person, making the Wood Awards as meaningful and rigorous a competition as possible. As a not-for-profit competition, the Wood Awards can only happen with collaborative industry sponsorship.

The buildings judging panel is led by three-time Gold Award winner Stephen Corbett of Green Oak Carpentry. The panel includes Andrew Lawrence, Arup; Adam Richards, Adam Richards Architects; Nathan Wheatley, engenuiti; David Morley, David Morley Architects; Jim Greaves, Hopkins; Jonas Lencer, dRMM; and architectural journalist Ruth Slavid.

MultiPly Architect: Waugh Thistleton Architects

Client: American Hardwood Export Council

Structural engineer: Arup

Main contractor: Stage One

CLT panel manufacturer: Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC)