Gillespie Park Nature Reserve

Finnforest's Thermowood greets visitors to Gillespie Park

Published: 01/02/2010 00:00

Finnforest’s Thermowood has recently been used in the construction of a canopy at the Green Flag Award-winning Gillespie Park Nature Reserve in Highbury, North London. The curved structure will help provide an interesting aesthetic dimension to the entrance of the park itself. Thermowood was chosen for its enhanced weather resistance.

The canopy, which is constructed in the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid – better known as saddle shaped – uses Finnforest’s Thermowood to create an open web of beams, which form the main part of the structure itself. Supported by steel posts, the Thermowood roof appears to float above the park’s entrance.

Steve Atkinson, Director of Built Engineers, who developed the original design for the Gillespie Park canopy commented, “The original choice of timber for this project was air dried European Oak. Thermowood was a viable alternative due to its lower cost, whilst still offering good structural performance with external durability and improved workability.”

Gordon Cowley, Managing Director of Cowley Timberwork, installed and created the final constructional detailing of the canopy. He commented, “We proposed Thermowood for this project due to its enhanced resistance to the elements. The way in which it is manufactured makes it less susceptible to secondary stresses, ensuring the timber will be stabilised against movement caused as a result of weather conditions. The aesthetic appearance of the timber itself was also attractive for this project, as it will tie in well with its natural surroundings.”

He continued, “Due to its unusual shape, we required a strong material that could be manipulated with relative ease. Thermowood fit the bill and was able to deliver an outstanding finished product which would invite visitors to the park for many years to come.”

Finnforest Thermowood is manufactured from high quality Finnish Redwood and through a process of intensive steam treatment – baking the wood at temperatures exceeding 200oC - the result is an altogether more stable timber product. As a result of this process, Thermowood embodies all the properties required for external applications due to its enhanced resistance to moisture intake, making it less likely to warp or twist.

Gillespie Park is a small nature reserve situated within the largely urbanised area of Highbury, North London. Home to several unusual species of flora and fauna, the park provides a natural space for use by wildlife and visitors alike. As such, the park was recently granted a Green Flag Award in recognition of its provision of a good quality green space.