Center Parcs Waterside Lodges

Location Elveden Forest, Suffolk, IP24 3TR UK
Building Year 2018
Architect Jackson Design Associates – Luke Hunter
Structural Design BSP Consulting – Monika Anszperger
Constructor Cocksedge Building Contractors Limited; Constructional Timber
Customer Center Parcs
Products Used Kerto LVL

Balancing nature with wooden building at Center Parcs Elveden Forest

The construction of three new Waterside Lodges at Center Parcs Elveden Forest is an ambitious architectural and engineering project. The new lodges have been designed to compliment the woodland landscape to connect the guests with the surrounding natural environment. Wood was a natural choice of building material, which would blend in seamlessly with the natural forest setting.


The choice of building materials was a key consideration for the architectural practice Jackson Design Associates (JDA). The challenge was to create a design that was sufficiently lightweight to achieve the impressive structure, without needing a considerable amount of foundation works.

 The only material that could meet all the requirements of the structure was Metsä Wood's Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber), which made the project fast, light and green.

Innovative design

  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges

The versatility of wood construction

Architects JDA created an elegant shape, reminiscent of a boat turned upside-down. The lodges have two levels; the forest-facing side is situated higher, accessed through a wooden bridge on the first floor. The first floor contains three en-suite bedrooms, two of which open onto a deck and balcony facing the lake. The ground floor combines kitchen, living and dining areas opening out on to a terrace on the waters edge.

Luke Hunter, Director at JDA said: “It was important to the Client to develop an exciting and interesting building form that made references to the boating activities of the watersports lake.”

Kerto LVL’s solid bonded structure offers incredible strength and dimensional stability, while its high strength to weight ratio allows for smaller spacing in mechanical connections. It is also a versatile and lightweight material, which is easy to work with.

One of the most challenging elements of the structure was an exposed arch at the front, which leans towards the lake. This needed to withstand biaxial bending and compression, while supporting the roof structure with a large cantilever. Kerto LVL Q-panels were used to create the long span to the first floor deck, which was designed to bear the weight of the column horizontally with a spring support.

Vertical columns were formed with two members spaced to support the first floor’s beams and curved roof beams. Kerto LVL was also used to create a recessed infill detail, closing the gap between the two vertical columns.

Innovative bracing and connections   

The columns, floor beams and support ribs of the curved roof were created using Kerto LVL Q-panel structural members. This allowed for smaller spacing in the doweled circular bending moment connection and better moisture stability.

The bracing of the roof and floor was provided by Kerto LVL Q-panels, which were connected together with 3-dimentional screwing. In this way no steel bracing was required.

Engineering firm, BSP Consulting, designed the foundations and the steel platform supporting the frames, which cantilevered over the lake. The Kerto LVL frames, consisting of the arch, two columns and the floor beam, are connected to the steel through metal shoes, which transfer shear and horizontal forces to the platform.


Fire safety

Another important consideration was fire safety – an issue that often discourages architects from specifying wood. However, in the event of a fire, Kerto LVL performs predictably. As a result of burning, the surface of Kerto becomes charred, which protects the product, insulates it and slows down the burning process.


Working together to solve the structural engineering 

  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
  • Center Parcs Waterside Lodges

Divisional Operations Manager at Cocksedge Building Contractors, Tom Courtney, said: “The project combined a unique architectural approach with challenging structural engineering to great effect. The success of the project demonstrates the technical know-how and expertise of everyone involved. 

“The use of such a versatile and lightweight material as Kerto LVL, made the entire build process much more straightforward and faster.”

The whole structure was modelled using BIM software – this enabled the architect and the rest of the team to easily identify the elements and understand how they would be incorporated to create the finished design. This was an important factor as much of the construction process would take part offsite.


Efficiency with off-site construction

Off-site prefabrication allowing for much faster build times

The whole system was designed in such a way that it allowed for quick and sequential installation to speed up the process and avoid disturbance at Center Parcs. All elements were prepared, finished and pre-drilled for connections.

The use of Kerto LVL elements throughout the construction project offered a solution that was at least 20 per cent cheaper than other timber materials.

Overall, the use of Kerto LVL and the collaboration between everyone involved in the project made Centre Parcs lodges an extremely efficient building.

Learn more about material properties

Breath taking result


The end result is breath taking and a great reflection of the hard work and ingenuity of the project design team, engineering know-how, and the vision of both the client and architect.

Paul Kent, Development and Construction Director at Center Parcs said: “We have been delighted to work with Metsä Wood on the supply of Kerto LVL for our new Waterside Lodges at Elveden Forest. The versatility of their product has helped to create a unique design feature in this brand new style of accommodation, complementing the nautical theme and lakeside setting.”


Center Parcs Waterside Lodges

Customer: Center Parcs
Architect: Jackson Design Associates – Luke Hunter
Engineer: BSP Consulting – Monika Anszperger
Main Contractor: Cocksedge Building Contractors Limited – Tom Courtney
Timber Contractor: Constructional Timber – Andrew King, Andy Newton
Project Manager & Cost Consultant: Edmond Shipway


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