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Natural Material Innovation

Sustainable Living

An urbanising global population is leading to an increasingly dense built environment. Often this means people living and working in taller buildings. Throughout history – and in many parts of the world today – timber and other plant-based materials have played a major role in low-rise construction; but despite the many environmental, aesthetic and construction advantages, the natural Supertall timber quote variability and limited dimensions of these materials mean that they have not historically proved suitable for tall building construction. However, a new generation of engineered timber and plant-based products allow many of the limitations of variability and size to be overcome.


The Super Tall Timber project seeks to provide the understanding necessary to design and construct tall buildings using these new materials. Furthermore, by pushing the limits of what is possible with today’s materials we are able to explore the likely requirements for the engineered timber and plant-based materials of tomorrow.


The Super Tall Timber project is funded by an EPSRC Bright IDEAS award and is being carried out collaboration with leading international architecture and engineering practices. By working closely with practitioners we are able to explore the challenges associated with the design of real tall buildings in timber and to develop technologies that are timely and relevant to industry. By combing our fundamental and applied research capabilities with the expertise of leading designers we are establishing a virtuous circle of design-led-research and research-led-design.

Latest news

Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2019

27 June 2019

Come visit us at our 'Timber Towers of Tomorrow' exhibit at The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2019, London from the 1st to 7th July 2019 (10am to 6pm)

New insight into the structure of building blocks of plant biomass.

6 November 2018

In a paper recently published in Plant Physiology we investigate the structure and function of one of an important component of plant biomass – galactoglucomannan (GGM). The GGM is a polysaccharide, a polymer made from multiple sugar molecules joined together. It is one of the principal components of softwood, wood from...

FLOWER approved by the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme

15 June 2018

FLOWER aims to develop innovative flax fibre reinforcements for sustainable composites applications in the marine, automotive and point-of-sale advertising sectors

Professor Paul Dupree named a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher

7 December 2017

We are thrilled by the news that Professor Paul Dupree, our project Co-I has been named a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher,with the Dupree group’s research among the top 1% most cited works in the field of plant and animal biology. Professor Dupree commented that: “ I’m very proud to be named a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher...