Brent Cross Breaks Ground: The £8b Town Rising Fast in London

One of Europe's largest urban regeneration projects uses timber to achieve net zero objectives.

Wed 05 Jun 24


Construction crews are busy building Brent Cross Town, dubbed Europe’s most ambitious net-zero urban project – with the first residents weeks away from moving into the North London development.

Already, Brent Cross West, London’s newest train station and first mainline station built over a decade ago, is now open for business after Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan opened the £419 million station in January – itself anchored by a massive glulam “timber canopy.”

“The station will serve as a gateway to Brent Cross Town, a brand-new neighbourhood delivering new homes, creating jobs, and aiming to be net zero by 2030,” Mayor Khan said, referencing the 180-acre net-zero development, which will eventually introduce 6,700 new homes, 280,000 metres of commercial space for 25,000 workers.

The new station – which incorporates a massive glulam facade – is the first overground train station built in London for over a decade and will serve the new Brent Cross Town development to the east of the station for £419 million. Footage courtesy of @geofftech2.
Brent Cross Town’s First Office Rises with Cross-Laminated Timber

Yesterday, UK-based real estate developer Related Argent, the developers behind the massive project, confirmed that 3 Copper Square, Brent Town’s first commercial tower, broke ground on the 13-storey building – made from a hybrid of cross-laminated timber, concrete, and exposed timber soffits.

Located beside the train station, the building, designed by Shed KM, uses off-site construction to “set industry-leading targets for embodied carbon reduction, operational efficiency, and well-being,” with Sheffield Hallam University slated to become the building anchor tenant as part of a deal to see the university operate its London campus from Brent Cross.

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Renders of 3 Copper Street, which will rise next to the new Brent Cross West train station. (Image Credit: Shed KN)

“3 Copper Square aligns perfectly with our values of building a sustainable tomorrow,” according to Rob Stiles, the Regional Director of Bam – the main contractor for the works, with the 3 Copper Square one of eight buildings now under construction across the £8b development.

Brent Cross Town’s vision for Net-Zero Construction

3 Copper Square is the first mass-timber-framed office building approved in an office park; however, it won’t be the last, with the precinct accommodating up to 25,000 workers and 280,000 square metres in buildings that will use mass timber frames and all-timber flooring.

Last year, the developers received approval for a second cross-laminated timber building next to the newly opened Claremont Park, alongside two major new public squares that serve as gateways to the neighbourhood.

The approval is the latest development in Brent Cross Town, which has eight buildings, including residential and student rooms, already under construction. Wood Central understands that the developers of Brent Cross Town will use cross-laminated timber to construct commercial offices made entirely of timber or a hybrid of mass timber and low-carbon concrete. 

Brent Cross Town, which is being delivered by Related Argent and Barnet Council, is among Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects and, once completed, aims to be one of the UK’s largest net zero town centres.

Footge courtesy of @savills
Brent Cross Town: Timber is the Key to Net-Zero Communities

In an interview with Dezeen in 2020, Brent Cross Town’s former development director, Peter Runacres, discussed the power of mass timber in delivering net zero communities. “Timber is one of the few truly renewable building materials,” he said, adding: “Who knows what the future of the workplace will be like in five, ten or twenty years?

“We want to create buildings that are there for a long time and are supremely adaptable. It’s much easier to do that with a timber building you can cut and carve.”

Peter Runacres, former Brent Cross Town development director.

Matt Flood, Brent Cross Town’s current development director, reiterated that “delivering majority-timber buildings in the UK is ambitious and therefore can be challenging; however, we must continually innovate for a zero-carbon future.”

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Brent Cross Town is currently under construction, dated May 2024. (Photo Credit: Galldris Services Ltd)

The Brent Cross Town urban development will eventually have 6,700 homes across more than 200,000 square metres of green space. It combines multiple outdoor activities, using urban forestry to develop a new community model for residents. 

Most importantly, it addresses the urgent challenge of the global Climate Crisis, achieving net zero carbon by 2030 at the latest: “We’re addressing this with low-carbon construction, renewable power, circular economy principles, carbon offsetting — and by empowering everyone who lives and works here to make low-carbon lifestyle choices of their own,” Mr Flood said. 


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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