flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

A U.K.-based design firm flaunts industrialized construction as it expands into U.S.


A U.K.-based design firm flaunts industrialized construction as it expands into U.S.

Bryden Wood wants to set up a network for manufactured components for repeatable building types.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | May 3, 2022
The Forge in London is deploying industrialized, kit-of-parts construction. Images: Courtesy of Bryden Wood
The Forge, a two-building office project under construction in London, showcases its designer Bryden Wood's “Platform” approach to industrialized construction. Images: Courtesy of Bryden Woods

London-based design firm Bryden Wood, with offices in Singapore, Barcelona, and Milan, will bolster its presence in the United States when it opens new headquarters in Boston this summer.

Founded in 1995, the firm now specializes in a value-oriented kit-of-parts “Platform” approach to design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA). Bryden Wood’s North American expansion is being led by directors Jaimie Johnstone and Phil Langley, its head of global systems and creative technologies, respectively.

In an interview with BD+C last week, Johnston said that Bryden Wood’s plans to expand into the U.S. in 2020 were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to its moving into Boston, Bryden Wood had done some work in the U.S. for the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline. Among the AEC and service-provider firms currently teaming with Bryden Wood on industrial projects in the U.S. are The Boldt Company, Amazon Web Services, and DPR Construction.

The timing of its expansion, said Johnston, was motivated by the slow-moving pace in the U.K. toward adopting offsite manufacturing as an element of commercial construction. “There have been pockets of excellence, but also more of a focus on volumetric modular for homebuilding.” The opposite is occurring in the U.S., he observed, where nonresidential developers and their AEC have been embracing prefabrication. Bryden Wood’s goal is to establish a North American supply network for industrial components.

Bryden Wood's kit of parts
Bryden Wood wants to establish a supply network for standardized components in North America.

Johnston noted that while “a lot of people” in the U.S. are prefabricating MEP components, that competitive advantage “can be diluted over time.” What Bryden Wood offers, he explained, is a merging of volumetric design with manufacturing for better and quicker results.

Bryden Wood’s Platform approach standardizes manufactured components that are made offsite and assembled onsite, thereby assuring greater certainty about schedules and budgets. Platforms also embed materials reuse and reductions in carbon into early stages of design.

The firm works with tech clients to develop design technologies such as “digital configurators” that rely on genetic algorithms to generate thousands of design and engineering solutions for sites around the world. By developing solutions that allow appropriate levels of repeatability in such building types as data centers, without sacrificing quality, “we’re helping [clients] transform their businesses,” said Johnston in a prepared statement.


Panels being installed onto The Forge
Using components made offsite, the installation of exterior panels onto
The Forge has been much quicker and more accurate.

The first major commercial project being delivered using the Platform approach to DfMA is The Forge, which topped out last December, and is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year. The Forge is comprised of two sustainably focused nine-story commercial buildings—90,000 and 49,000 sf, respectively—in central London, built around an accessible courtyard. Its projected efficiencies include a nearly 20 percent reduction in embodied carbon per square meter, a 36.4 percent reduction in the substructure, and a 20.2 reduction in superstructure and façade materials. Johnston said that the buildings’ façade panels could be installed in just 7½ minutes each, and with greater accuracy.

The Forge’s developer, Landsea, anticipates a 9.5 percent reduction in capital costs from this platform kit-of-parts approach. The Forge is also the U.K’s first net-zero energy project. The building team includes a joint venture between the construction firms Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace, and NG Bailey as the MEP engineer.

Johnston expected Bryden Wood to focus its attention in North American on projects for healthcare, data centers, pharma, and industrial, “wherever there’s a high degree of complexity and repetition.” On its website, Bryden Wood said it has been designing data centers since 1999, and has been delivering 30-40 percent reductions in capital build costs per kilowatt, and an average 40 percent increase in IT yield per square meter.

Scalability via industrialized construction for these building types is where clients are most likely to benefit from improvements in design and delivery, the firm contended. Johnston also foresaw Bryden Wood doing a bit more multifamily design in the U.S. than it does within its home market.

A few years ago, the firm launched a free-to-use and open-source housing design application called PRiSM that, it claims, brings together central and regional government, investors, developers, and manufacturers, with the goal of driving improved productivity and quality. The updated version of PRiSM incorporates Bryden Wood’s Platforms approach to DfMA.

Related Stories

Mass Timber | Mar 19, 2023

A 100% mass timber construction project is under way in North Carolina

An office building 100% made from mass timber has started construction within the Live Oak Bank campus in Wilmington, N.C. The 67,000-sf structure, a joint building venture between the GCs Swinerton and Wilmington-headquartered Monteith Construction, is scheduled for completion in early 2024.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Mar 17, 2023

Aurora, Colo., recreation center features city’s first indoor field house, unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains

In January, design firm Populous and the City of Aurora, Colo. marked the opening of the Southeast Aurora Recreation Center and Fieldhouse. The 77,000-sf facility draws design inspiration from the nearby Rocky Mountains. With natural Douglas Fir structure and decking, the building aims to mimic the geography of a canyon. 

Architects | Mar 16, 2023

HKS launches partner diversity program to create a more diverse workforce and partnership network

Design firm HKS has launched a new partner diversity program that will work to build a more diverse AEC ecosystem. The HKS xBE program will give xBE firms (a term encompassing all disadvantaged businesses) and their members “access to opportunities to build relationships, pursue new work, and bolster innovation within the architecture and design professions,” according to HKS.

Sustainability | Mar 16, 2023

Lack of standards for carbon accounting hamper emissions reduction

A lack of universally accepted standards for collecting, managing, and storing greenhouse gas emissions data (i.e., carbon accounting) is holding back carbon reduction efforts, according to an essay published by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Sports and Recreational Facilities | Mar 15, 2023

Georgia State University Convocation Center revitalizes long-neglected Atlanta neighborhood

Georgia State University’s new Convocation Center doubles the arena it replaces and is expected to give a shot in the arm to a long-neglected Atlanta neighborhood. The new 200,000 sf multi-use venue in the Summerhill area of Atlanta is the new home for the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and will also be used for large-scale academic and community events.

Sponsored | Cladding and Facade Systems | Mar 15, 2023

Metal cladding trends and innovations

Metal cladding is on a growth trajectory globally. This is reflected in rising demand for rainscreen cladding and architectural metal coatings. This course covers the latest trends and innovations in the metal cladding market. 

Education Facilities | Mar 15, 2023

DLR Group’s Campus Planning Studio defines new leadership

Linsey Graff named Campus Planning Leader. Krisan Osterby transitions to Senior Planner.

Building Tech | Mar 14, 2023

Reaping the benefits of offsite construction, with ICC's Ryan Colker    

Ryan Colker, VP of Innovation at the International Code Council, discusses how municipal regulations and inspections are keeping up with the expansion of off-site manufacturing for commercial construction. Colker speaks with BD+C's John Caulfield.

Multifamily Housing | Mar 14, 2023

Multifamily housing rent rates remain flat in February 2023

Multifamily housing asking rents remained the same for a second straight month in February 2023, at a national average rate of $1,702, according to the new National Multifamily Report from Yardi Matrix. As the economy continues to adjust in the post-pandemic period, year-over-year growth continued its ongoing decline.

Affordable Housing | Mar 14, 2023

3 affordable housing projects that overcame building obstacles

These three developments faced certain obstacles during their building processes—from surrounding noise suppression to construction methodology.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: