Signature projects such as the massive glulam gridshell structure covering the Canary Wharf Crossrail station are helping to drive architect and contractor interest in glulam.

That’s the experience of John Spittle of Austrian glulam manufacturer Wiehag which finished on site at the Canary Wharf project in March after seven months of installation work involving 1,500 glulam beams.

"It’s been such a complex project, with Arup and Foster + Partners crawling over every weld and section," said Mr Spittle. "We’re very pleased with how it’s gone."

One complicated section involved the use of two 160-tonne cranes and two large cherry pickers. A glulam dock had to be built for the cherry pickers to sit on.

"There won’t be many timber structures with that kind of complexity, design and installation. It’s the first glulam structure in central London of any scale. And it’s right in Canary Wharf, with the bankers and investors looking down on it.

"I think it will be great for the whole timber industry in the UK."

The whitewood glulam gridshell extends to 11,500m², covering a park, café and retail area above the station. The frame is fully on display thanks to a transparent ETFE fabric roof covering, which is currently being applied. Dramatic cantilevers feature at either end.

About four different grades of glulam feature, with special treatments added to guard against water damage and UV.

"We are already seeing interest from other projects from people who were previously a bit skittish about glulam. This is opening doors. Some companies we are getting phone calls from, like Skanska, were previously not interested in talking about glulam."

Other big contractors and notable architecture practices have also been in touch.