Project Profile

Location: South West London

Frame: Ribbed roof structure for a school theatre

Timber: Glulam

Architect: Dinwiddie MacLaren Architects

Broomwood Hall School

An innovative solution using glulam timber frames made an otherwise unachievable project possible.


Broomwood Hall School, a private school based in London, had a requirement for a dance hall. But this wasn’t just any dance hall as it was a timber engineered roof structure that was fitted upon an existing Victorian four storey building.

The structure for the new dance hall at Broomwood Hall School was originally envisaged by the architects, Dinwiddie MacLaren Architects, to be a gridshell roof. The benefit of the gridshell roof is that it gets its strength from curvature but from a grid or lattice structure. However the school had a finite budget so a gridshell structure wasn’t possible and the prices from other manufacturers were making a significant aesthetic compromise extremely likely. When Carpenter Oak & Woodland became involved in the project we applied some lateral thinking and suggested an alternative idea to the gridshell, a glue laminated ribbed roof structure that uses interlocking ribs and longitudinal purlins to create a similar aesthetic as a gridshell. The benefit of glulam, other than the financial benefit, is that it can create large spans of 30 meters, if not longer. The result when using the glulam lattice roof stucture is a striking roof structure with the aesthetic of a gridshell but within the clients’ financial reach.

Broomwood Hall School is just one of the many schools we have worked with over the years – take a look through our gallery to see some of the other projects including the award winning St. James School Design & Technology block.