‘I’m no longer the wood weirdo,’ says Andrew Waugh

The Black & White Building

EU Horizon Build in Wood

Laudes Foundation

Timber Typologies

‘I want to transform the whole industry,’ says Waugh, founding director of Waugh Thistleton, which was recently named Practice of the Year at the AJ Architecture Awards. Waugh explains why tall buildings have no place in sustainable cities of the future, how building housing with timber can reduce its carbon burden by as much as 75 per cent, and why we should stop building basements (they are up to five times as carbon-intensive as upper floors).

The New Model Building

U S Department of Agriculture/Forestry Service – CLT 100 UK PROJECTS

Murray Grove

Climate Champions is produced in association with ACAN, the Architects’ Climate Action Network
Podcast produced and edited by Simon Aldous
Music: Edmilson do Pífano, Forró de dois Amigos. Interpretation: Felipe Tanaka e banda Balaio de Baião


Waugh advocates building with timber primarily as a low-carbon alternative to concrete and steel, rather than for aesthetic reasons. He shares recent research that clarifies end-of-life alternatives for timber that are not incineration or landfill. He makes it clear that current subsidies that encourage burning of timber for biomass must be revamped to support use of UK-grown timber for construction.

Source:Jake Curtis

Lakanal House

Waugh Thistleton – Architect of the Year


EU Horizon woodcircles

Built by Nature – GenZero primary school prototype

Andrew was a member of the Architects Declare steering group from 2019 to 2023.

Projects and resources mentioned in this episode

AJ Climate Champions is hosted by Hattie Hartman and George Morgan. To catch up on all episodes, click here.

The Black & White Building

Andrew Waugh is founder and director of 30-strong WaughThistleton Architects, a practice he cofounded with Anthony Thistleton in 1997. He has been building with cross-laminated timber long before the climate emergency made timber the material of choice for many. He has lectured extensively in North America and across Europe on the greater use of timber in buildings.

Dalston Works

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About Andrew Waugh

Architects Declare

With support from


This episode was recorded the day after Andrew took co-hosts Hattie and George on a tour through WaughThistleton’s recently completed Black & White Building in Shoreditch. With the exception of its basement, the building is all timber: structure, core, floors, cladding and brise-soleil. Waugh describes where the timber was sourced and says that the transport footprint of timber is a relatively minor consideration.

Built by Nature

Finally, Waugh explains why his practice recently withdrew from Architects Declare.