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The 2nd Whalley Range Scouts are a dream client - centered on their community, busily investing in children’s futures and full of hope. Our aim for their new Scout Hall was simply to reflect all of these aims. By engaging with their community and empowering them to design and build, by making every effort to include the children at every stage and by pushing the boundaries of community-led timber construction we built a hopeful vision for the future of this community and a place they can now call home.

Beyond the spiritual, the specification of WISA spruce plywood was driven by the WikiHouse construction system, our community-led modern method of construction and the requirements of spanning 6m in volunteer constructed plywood beams. This material allowed us to pre-fabricate parts small enough for all our volunteers to easily handle them without the need for additional lifting equipment. The flat-pack assembly meant fun for everyone with instructions like a giant IKEA cupboard for people and three weekends of hard work with friends and neighbors. 

The use of timber was an integral environmental choice to create a lighter lower impact building with the potential for reusability. The WISA spruce plywood structural carcass provides a clear chain of custody from FSC approved forests which together with the naturally low embodied carbon of the material mean the building starts life close to zero-carbon. 

Genuine community construction is a rare thing in the UK due to the time and skills required to engage in traditional building techniques. By utilizing WikiHouse and WISA structural plywood we were able to involve everyone from children as young as 10 years old to their grandparents of 60 or more. They were able to turn up over three weekends, be handed a pair of gloves, a hi-viz and a mallet and set to work hammering together an actual building. 

The chosen structural systems for the project was the WikiHouse system, a digitally-manufactured building system using 18mm WISA plywood sheets cut into shapes on a CNC machine. The benefits of the system are many for a project like this, WikiHouse is an adaptable system standardized parts, components are manufactured off site in high quality settings and assembled to millimeter precision. 

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