LSBU and Metsä Wood joined forces for a Plan B student project

Students of LSBU design a Plan B for London

Metsä Wood joined forces with London South Bank University

Published: 29/06/2016 12:00

​Students of London South Bank University have published their Plan B for London’s Walworth. The project focuses on creating sustainable alternatives for the community around their own school. Instead of demolishing the existing communities, the future architects designed extensions to buildings using engineered wood - Kerto® LVL.

“We were inspired by Metsä Wood’s Plan B project where they re-designed iconic buildings with wood. We also wanted to present sustainable alternatives to the development of our own community”, says Lilly Kudic, Head of Architecture at LSBU.

Both the students and LSBU staff have been concerned about what is happening to the community around their own University. Walworth is under enormous pressure from private development and the existing communities have to make way for unaffordable new housing.

“London has a long and renowned history of seeing architecture as a way of making cities vibrant, exciting and civilized. The current development, however, is not sustainable. As future architects, we must seek alternatives as the current model is clearly broken” says Mandeep Ryait, Final year MArch student at LSBU.

It was inspiring for both architects and students alike to see contemporary architects in London building in timber in dense urban situations at recent Urban Wood conference held at LSBU. Alex de Rijke, Andrew Waugh and Jon Broome all explained their unique approaches to how timber could be the material of the future and its architectural potential in designing a truly sustainable city.

Additions to the existing buildings in Walworth, London

Students were asked to propose new ideas for existing residential communities in Walworth which can be added to as well as to design an additive model of inhabitation. The use of sustainable materials such as engineered wood was encouraged.

“Because of its lightness and low carbon footprint, timber is the best material for extending buildings in already dense cities.  By adapting and adding to the re-useable structures of housing estates, the existing communities could remain in place – and thrive.” says Mike Kane, studio leader at London South Bank University MArch course.

Existing communities – An asset rather than a problem

“I wanted to create a new way to see the South London housing estates and their communities as an asset rather than a problem. We were encouraged to enrich the idea of housing by including growing landscapes, social facilities and common space in the city for the existing communities to flourish. Timber was an ideal material: being lightweight it allowed me to add more density than possible in other constructions, which is much needed in London at the moment. Designing with wood also gave more freedom in designing in a new way. ” says Luke Marchant, 4th Year MArch student at LSBU.
Metsä Wood’s Plan B explores the possibilities of wood construction

“Plan B challenges preconceptions and explores the possibilities of wood construction. Last year well known professionals re-designed the Colosseum and Berlin Reichstag with engineered wood – Kerto® LVL. I am excited about the Plan B the new generation has created for London”, says Mikko Saavalainen, SVP Business Development for Metsä Wood.

See all the rewarded Plan B London projects

For more information, please contact:

Henni Rousu, Marketing Manager, Metsä Wood,
mobile: +358 (0) 40 5548388, henni.rousu[at]

Mike Kane, senior lecturer at London South Bank University in architecture,
tel. 0207 582 7527, kanem2[at]

Architecture has been taught at London South Bank University for over a hundred years. Distinguished alumni include Julius Posner, Peter Salter, and Patrik Schumacher.  Architecture at LSBU is concerned with innovation in constructional systems and the crafting of resource efficient materials to create architecture with social purpose and professional relevance.

Metsä Wood provides competitive and environmentally friendly wood products for construction, industrial customers and distributor partners. We manufacture products from Nordic wood, a sustainable raw material of premium quality. Our sales in 2015 were EUR 0.9 billion and we employ about 2,000 people. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group.