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6 January, 2010
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A cut above
Published:  03 June, 2009

Mayr-Melnhof’s new headquarters building blends a range of engineered timber products

You might not expect a sawmiller to opt for avant-garde architecture, but Mayr-Melnhof has done just that – in glulam. Stephen Powney reports

An astonishing new €5m headquarters building has been opened by ambitious Austrian sawmilling group Mayr-Melnhof.

The new futuristic wooden corporate offices, designed by Nussmüller Architects, took less than a year to build in Leoben. “The pioneering approach of timber architecture has been perfectly demonstrated,” said Mayr-Melnhof’s CEO Joseph Dringel.

“Timber is not only environmentally-friendly, but also offers financial incentives, because the construction period can be shortened significantly.”

The architects were given the challenge of reflecting the company’s international growth strategy and business philosophy in the structure’s design.

The two Ms of Mayr-Melnhof were symbolised in glulam pillars supporting the building, while the generous use of large glass surfaces allows views into the wooded surroundings of Leoben, and the company’s sawmill.

Approximately 200m³ of Mayr-Melnhof glulam and 700m³ of the company’s plywood board (for ceiling and wall elements) were used. The façade and windows are in spruce and larch.

Total usable area comprises 2,523m², excluding terraces, balconies and stair surfaces, and offers space for 107 employees. In the centre of the building, a living conifer in an open atrium provides a pleasant place for employees to linger and foster team-building.

“The emphasis on open communication spaces was a key challenge to the architects and they have excelled,” said Dringel.

The Mayr-Melnhof Wood Group has a €640m annual turnover with two sawmills in Austria, one each in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Russia, plus four wood-processing plants. Products include
sawn timber, glulam, plywood boards, duplex, triplex and Quadro laminated beams, formwork, and solid wood floors.

The interior is light and open

The building sits on raked glulam stilts

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Is timber well placed to benefit from the opportunities presented by the London 2012 Olympics?

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