The Dyson Village is a student accommodation complex providing individual studio apartments for each years’ cohort of students at the Dyson Institute of Engineering & Technology. Each studio apartment (known as a ‘pod’) has internal dimensions of 7.3 m x 3.5 m x 2.5 m (height) and is formed solely by a cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction. The studio apartments are stacked up to three pods high and always cantilevered from the pod below by at least 3 m.
Finite element modelling of CLT structures is inherently challenging due to the material properties of the cross-laminated timber, specifically due to layering of timber in two directions resulting in varying stiffness in three directions. The project was further complicated by the stacked and cantilevered arrangement of the pods, modular nature of the construction, tight deadlines and a strict external checking process.
We used various functions within SCIA Engineer to produce a comprehensive design package. The CLT panels were modelled using orthotropic plates allowing us to accurately capture the varying stiffness of the timber in three directions. We were fortunate to be able to carry out also full-scale load-deflection testing and its results differed from the analysis only by 0.83 mm. We analysed 108 load combinations generated from 20 load cases and used the envelope function to determine the worst-case combinations for each load duration. We modelled the connections as rigid links which gave axial forces allowing us to design the inter-pod connections comprised of only 4 bolts. We used the Revit link to export the model to Revit to produce the detailed design drawings. We used the graphical output of SCIA Engineer analysis results and included them into our calculation report.