The Best of British Design and Craftsmanship in Wood: Shortlist Announced for The 2015 Wood Awards

Buildings Competition

Twenty outstanding British buildings have been nominated for The Wood Awards 2015 shortlist, featuring some of the UK’s best architectural designs in wood. Led by architect, Giles Downes, the judges reviewed applications in a variety of categories including: Commercial & Leisure, Education & Public Sector, Existing Buildings, Interiors, Private and Small Projects. All of the shortlisted projects will be showcased at 100% Design stand L722,  23rd-26th September at London Olympia. The final winners will be revealed by host Tom Dyckhoff at the 44th annual Wood Awards ceremony at Carpenters’ Hall on 10th November.

The Wood Awards are the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s only naturally sustainable material. The Awards aim to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design,craftsmanship and installation using wood.

Michael Morrison,who returns as Chairman of judges for the rest of the year, comments:

“With so many excellent projects, the most difficult part of the judging is the shortlisting.However,once the shortlisting is completed the most interesting part of the process begins with every project receiving a visit from at least two of the judges. The visits are a real pleasure enabling the judges to see the terrific use that is being made of timber,the high quality designs and the excellence of craftsmanship which is on display.”

COMMERCIAL & LEISURE

1.BSKYB BELIEVE IN BETTER BUILDING

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Location:London

Architect: Arup Associates

Structural Engineer:Arup Associates, Eugenuiti

Main Contractor/Builder: Mace

Timber Frame Supplier: B & K Structures

Interior Joinery: Taylor Made Joinery Interiors Limited

Wood Supplier: Rubner Holzbau GmbH, Binderhol

Client/Owner: BskyB

Wood Species: Austrian Spruce, Birch from Sweden and Finland,

British Oak

BSkyB’s new educational facility for graduates, apprentices and staff training,was designed to reflect the company’s sustainable aspirations. The 3,000m² development is a four-storey, open-plan commercial structure in the UK and one of very few multi-storey timber offices in the world.

The building was designed and constructed in less than one yea. Solid timber and timber cassettes were the optimum rapid and sustainable solution as it eliminates the requirement for wet trade onsite and therefore an accelerated programme of work was achievable. The timber cassettes delivered the low thermal resistance and high air tightness that the structure demanded to meet the challenging design brief. The system took the form of a glulam frame with visible grade CLT panels providing core stability to the walls and floor.

2.CANARY WHARF CROSSRAIL

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Location:London

Architect: Foster+Partners

Structural Engineer: Wiehag, Seele, Arup Associates

Main Contractor/Builder: Canary Wharf Contactors

Landscape Consultant: Gillespies

Wood Supplier: Wiehag

Client/Owner: Canary Wharf Group

Wood Species: Spruce

Foster+Partners were commissioned to design a mixed-use scheme encompassing the over-ground element of a new station of the Crossrail project at Canary Wharf. The design is characterised by a landscaped, sheltered park on the roof, accessible from ground level by connecting bridges.

Wrapping over the lower concrete superstructure, this 300 metre-long timber lattice opens in the centre to draw in light and rain from natural irrigation.

Four levels of shops, cafes and amenities sit above the underground station,the arcade making use of natural light to minimise energy consumption and welcome people into the building. When open at night, the park will be lit, illuminating the timber lattice from below and creating a welcoming glow through its ETFE outer skin.Timber was first proposed as an appropriate material to enclose the park due to its organic nature,strength and adaptability.

3. CONSTELLATIONS BAR

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Location:Liverpool

Architect: Howard MillerDesign

Structural Engineer: Materian Ltd.

Main Contractor/Builder: H.MillerBros.

Joinery Company: Hugh Miller Furniture

Wood Supplier: Materian Ltd.

Client/Owner: Constellations

Wood Species: Welsh Green Oak, TR26 Softwood

Roofing Timber, OSB3Boards.

Constellations Bar is an outdoor venue that occupies a disused industrial recycling yard and consists of a bar,food truck,art space and community garden.Brothers Hugh and Howard Miller,a furniture maker and a practicing architect, collaborated on this project to rekindle the Arts & Crafts ideal of gesantkunsterk, a ‘totalworkofart’.

The canopy and all other components were prefabricated in the H. Miller Bros. workshop and erected on site in three days.The waffle soffit was built from construction timber planed down to remove rounded edges and grade markings.

The structure is supported by a set of ten green oak quadra-pods,double AS frame supports that carry the load of the canopy via glulam beams. Each quadra-pod is incorporated into bench seating or a table.The courtyard garden is populated by movable green oak furniture allowing the space to be reconfigured to accommodate the rolling program of art events ,performances,cinema screenings and a market.

EDUCATION & PUBLIC SECTOR

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1. ARCADIA NURSERY

Location:Edinburgh

Architect: Malcolm Fraser Architects

StructuralEngineer:AED

Main Contractor/Builder: Balfour Beatty

Wood Supplier: Stora Enso, Lignotrend, Russwood,

NaturalBuildingTechnologies

Client/Owner: University of Edinburgh

Wood Species: Austrian Spruce, Siberian Larch, ScottishLarch

Built for the University of Edinburgh, Arcadia Nursery was conceived as a floating, lightweight structure that could be built within a restricted site. The CLT structure creates a warm,tactile interior whilst achieving clear roof volumes that ensure the mezzanine spaces are not compromised.Timber acoustic ceilings soften the sound and aesthetic of each playroom. Timber cladding and wood fibre insulation envelops the building. Timber-decks, walkways, feature fences and play features are used throughout.

The nursery has been designed to be a very low energy building. The design stage BREEAM assessment achieved a high score of82.2 percent with material and pollutions sections achieving a score of 100 percent.

2. BRYANSTON SCHOOL:THE TOM WHEARE MUSIC SCHOOL

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Location: Blandford Forum, Dorset

Architect: Hopkins Architects

Structural Engineer: Expedition Engineering Ltd.

MainContractor/Builder: Midas

JoineryCompany: InputJoinery

Environmental/M&E Engineers: AECOM

Acoustic Engineers: Gilleron Scott Acoustic Design

Wood Supplier:Gariff Construction Ltd

Client/Owner: Bryanston School

Wood Species: Douglas Fir,AmericanWhite Oak,Spruce

The new Tom Wheare Music School, part of Bryanston School in Dorset has been constructed of brick and wood to establish a visual dialogue with nearby buildings.

Robust and sustainable Douglas fir has been used externally as framing for most windows and as part of the large integrated panels below the windows.A timber-treaded stair links the building’s three levels. The lower ground floor houses various music rooms that open directly onto the courtyard which feature spruce glulam timber posts and ceiling beams infilled with timber panels.

Timber is a prominent feature in the 300-seat Auditorium where it is used on most exposed surfaces to create a warm,inviting and acoustically appropriate environment.American white oak flooring,wall and ceiling panels join with specially designed oak acoustic panels that can be individually adjusted to improve acoustic performance in the space. Spruce glulam timber beams support the roof and timber backs are used on the fixed seating within the space.

3.KEYNSHAM CIVIC CENTRE AND ONE STOP SHOP

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Location: Keynsham,Somerset

Architect: AHR

StructuralEngineer:Hydrock

Main Contractor/Builder: Willmott Dixon Construction

Structural Frame Contactor:B&K Structures

Wood Supplier:Junckers,Krone

Client/Owner: Bath and North East Somerset Council

Wood Species: Spruce,Oak

Keynsham Civic Centre and One Stop Shop for Bath and North East Somerset Council consists of 68,000 sqft council offices.In addition to proving the Council with high quality offices the project is on course to be one of the lowest energy consuming public buildings in the UK and is almost carbon neutral.

An innovative hybrid structural frame was developed consisting of steel portal frames with a CLT frame.The floor slabs area 50/50 mix of CLT and precast concrete.Natural ventilation on a noisy site was achieved by an innovative window system. The team needed to incorporate a 150mm deep acoustic louvre into the vents that was only possible with that timber composite window.

Oak is utilised extensively throughout the building, particularly in the reception area where a 5m high-slatted oak wall has been installed that provides acoustic absorption and creates display spaces.

Oak Junkers raised flooring has been installed in all circulation spaces and the large communal breakout cafe space.The extensive use of exposed spruce structure and solid oak detailing creates a feeling of calm and warmth in the office environment.

4.MAGGIE’S OXFORD

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Location:Oxford

Architect: WilkinsonEyreArchitects

StructuralEngineer:Alan Baxter Associates,Mensawood

MainContractor/Builder: Jackson’s Building Contactors

MEP Engineers: KJ Tait Engineers

WoodSupplier:Merk Timber

Client/Owner: Maggie’s

Wood Species: Norway Spruce,White Fir,Scots Pine, European Larch, Douglas Fir, Swiss Stone Pine, European Oak, Birch Plywood, Scandinavian Kiln Dried, Softwood Thermowood

Inspired by the concept of a tree house,the Maggie’s Oxford Centre, which offers free practical, emotional and social for people with cancer and their family and friends, floats amongst the trees on the edge of the Churchill Hospital, Oxford. The building’s structure is entirely fabricated from engineered timber. The building utilises a range of crossply laminated timber materials. This combination enables the building to appear to float above the ground towards the tree canopies.

The CLT panel floor supported on glulam beams forms the elevated base of the building and provides a robust perimeter edge for the connection of level access balconies and the timber clad pedestrian bridge to the road. A folding three-dimensional lightweight roof fabricated using Kerto LVL structural ribs and wrapped with a Kerto skin, extends seamlessly throughout the building, sailing over the external balconies to provide shelter or shade.

The building’s external fabric is also wrapped in pressure treated Kerto sheeting, finished with a semi-translucent silver/grey solignum stain,exposing the grain of the timber whilst offering further protection from the environment.The colour reflects the natural weather of the spruce which will silver to sit comfortably within the landscape.This treatment also marries with the unfinished solid oak trellis providing privacy and shading to the large expanses of glazing.

5.THE LEVEL

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Location:Brighton

Architect: Knox Bhavan Architects LLP

Structural Engineer:Price & Myers

Building/ClientOwner: Brighton and Hove City Council

Wood Species: European Larch,Douglas Fir, European Oak

The Level cafe is fully glazed on three sides,offering wide-ranging views over the surrounding park and fountain.Glazed oak south-facing doors give excellent visual surveillance towards the children’s play area whilst those to the north and east invite passing pedestrians in. In good weather all of the doors can be opened to allow a seamless transition between inside and outside.The roof is planted with local grasses and wild flowers to blend in with the surrounding landscape. On the south and east sides a larch pergola provides shading. Larch cladding and doors to the public toilets and cafe ‘back of house’ complements the park landscape.

Inside doubled up Douglas fir purlins and steel connection plates create a diagonal structure.A roof light runs the full length of the cafe over the central ridge bringing natural light into the building.

Painted blue ply panels with exposed joints are immediately above the diagonal purlins creating a decorative ceiling.

EXISTING BUILDING

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1. POD GALLERY

Location: West Littleton

Architect: Stonewood Design

Structural Engineer: Structurelle

Main Contactor/Builder: Stonewood Builders

Joinery Company: Oakwrights

Wood Supplier: Dinesen

Wood Species: Oak, BirchPlywood, Marine Plywood, Softwood

The client wished to restore the Grade II listedHome Farm Barn to its full glory and remove past interventions within which served to domesticate the bold historic structure.

Pod Gallery is a ‘reversible’ lightweight timber structure that sits lightly within the barn. The structure only touches the Barn where it sits on the existing raised barn floor directly above the cellar below. It cantilevers over the floor giving the impression of floating or of a vessel launching forth.

The roof undulates around the existing barn trusses,creating a cast of the negative space.

The existing domestic doors and windows were removed and all arrow-slit window openings have been reinstated. Sealed, glazed openings that alight with the openings to the barn are introduced into the Pod Gallery. Full height glazing facing the barn is provided to the gable allowing the full splendour of the barn to be revealed from the comfort of Pod Gallery.

2. THE MASTER’S HOUSE

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Location: Ledbury, Herfordshire

Architect: Butler Hegarty Architects

Structural Engineer: Hockley and Dawson Consulting Engineers

Main Contractor/Builder: Speller Metcalfe

Joinery Company: Splitlath Building Conservation

Interior Joinery: Woodcraft Joinery Ltd

Wood Supplier: Oakbeam UK

Client/Owner: Herefordshire County Council

Wood Species: European Oak, Green Oak, Russian Birch Plywood, European Beech

Located in the market town of Ledbury, the Grade II* listed Master’s House has a timber frame medieval building at its core encased in later Georgian and Victorian additions. The building is part of the medieval St.Katherine’s Hospital site.The Master’s House has been repaired and regenerated as a public building with a range of facilities including a library.

The completeness of the medieval timber frame that forms the two-storey, three-bayed Central Hall with cross wings at either end built c.1487 has been revealed. Sufficient fragments remained of the timber frame to develop an accurate evidence based reconstruction. Repairs were carried out using traditional carpentry techniques and semi seasoned European oak was selected to match the extraordinary large scale of the frame.Salvaged oak was used for small patch repairs, matching in grain and texture, and new oak was matched for grain, texture and growth. Contemporary birch ply and beech veneer counters,bookcases,desks, doors and shelves have been created throughout the building. 18th and19th century joinery has been retained and used in other parts of the building.

The Central Hall originally had an 18th century ceiling which, when removed,revealed the medieval roof for the first time in 250 years. To stabilise the medieval roof structure a new second roof structure was formed using Hempcrete cassettes .45 wattle and daub panels were also repaired in the main timber frame using local riven hazel whittles and oak staves.

3. THE STUDIO

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Location:London

Architect: Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects

Structural Engineer: DMC Consulting Engineers Ltd

Main Contactor/Builder: Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects

Wood Supplier: Lathams

Wood Species: Siberian Birch Plywood, American Red Oak

Plywood has been used extensively to construct The Studio as a finishing and structural material.The journey inside the newly created volume culminates in discovering a timber clad mezzanine room overlooking a double height space. The relationship of the new construction with the existing building is enhanced by the contrast of the timber material with more neutral white plasterboard walls.

The design has been likened to a tree house, the staircase like a hollowed out tree trunk and the mezzanine sitting atop like a Scandinavian wood cabin. The architects wanted the staircase to feel sculptural, solid and continuous. To achieve this plywood plugs have been used to conceal fixings and the cupboard doors are without handles to further enhance the carved-out appearance of the space.

The building has been nicknamed the Tardis due to its deceptively large space.

INTERIORS

1. HULT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS SCHOOL

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Location:London

Architect: Sergison Bates Architects

Structural Engineer: Price & Myers

Main Contactor/Builder: Rooff Ltd

Joinery Company:TJS,Adcon

Furniture Designer/Maker: Simon Jones Studio

Graphic Designer: Graphic Thought Facility

Wood Supplier: Brooks Bros(UK)Ltd

Client/Owner:Hult International Business School

Wood Species: Douglas Fir from USA,Elliotis Pine Plywood from Brazil

The Grade II listed St.George’s Brewery, a historic Victorian landmark, has been transformed into Hult International Business School’s first UK undergraduate campus. Timber was the material of choice, as no other would have offered the same breadth of design options.

A new timber staircase was inserted into the space of the old light well, opening up spatial connections between floors. Plywood sheeting isused to span between uprights,while the Triboard multi-ply panel of treads and risers is hardwearing and provides structural strength.

New timber elements form full height walls that create acoustically sealed lecture rooms and freestanding pods for meetings and private study. In the classrooms, large studs provide rigidity while plywood panelling attenuates acoustic reverberation. The carrel desks are finer and more delicate. The use of routed timber elements in signage reinforces the connection to the historic brewery and the tradition of cooperage.

2. SPATHROOM

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Location:London

Architect: Paul McAneary Architects

Wood Supplier: Mundy Veneer Ltd

Wood Species: Teak

The Spathroom has been designed to be a peaceful sanctuary within a Victorian house. A combination of veneer and solid teak was used as it hardwearing, easy to clean and its depth of warm colour is calming. The use of teak plays to the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. The material ages beautifully and will enhance its surroundings over time.

The four timber blocks used to create the bath, bath filler,washstand and WC unit are made from specialist marine ply core with a thick teak veneer.The bottoms of the baths and basin ares lightly dished ensuring that all water drains away. Across the four blocks, seamless and mitred joint shave been employed to achieve the monolithic appearance. All interfaces between the parts have been considered and designed to ensure robust buildSup, dimensional stability, water tightness and durability. The washstand is designed as a teak block lifted on stones. All the walls are clad with teak timber fins and uniform gaps absorb echo.

PRIVATE

1. DUNDON PASSIVHAUS

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Location:Compton Dundon,Somerset

Architect: Prewett Bizley Architects

Structural Engineer:Structural Solutions

Joinery Company:Allwood

Staircase:Fowler & Co.

Interiors: Heartwood Cabinet MakersLtd

Wood Supplier: Luton Green Sawmill

Wood Species: Green Oak, European Oak, Birch

Plywood,Pine,Softwood

Set at the foot of a wooded hill, Dundon Passivhaus was designed in harmony with the rural setting. Timber was chosen for its ability to define the character of the building and for its excellent energy performance.

The primary structure of the house is a soft wood timber frame. The roof is made from timber I-joists. On three sides the shallow pitched roof extends beyond the footprint to create sheltered outdoor spaces that catch the sun at different times of the day. This works in harmony with the energy strategy by providing shading to large areas of glazing. An out-rigger structure of green oak posts supports the roof, makes connection with the pinetrunks on the hillside and frames views through the covered spaces. The soft wood used for the joists, plywood soffits and internal ceilings is painted to contrast with the oak. The only exposed timber in the house is oak.

The upper floor entrance hall and reception rooms are lined in planed oak with oak joinery, amore refined version of the rough sawn external cladding.Elsewhere the walls are lined with plywood and painted in warm shades of grey to create a serene atmosphere.

2. SUSSEX HOUSE

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Location:Sussex

Architect: Wilkinson King Architects

Structural Engineer: Price & Myers, Packman Lucas

Main Contractor/Builder: Westbridge Construction Ltd

CLT Manufacturer: KLHUK Ltd

Wood Supplier: Vincent Timber

Wood Species: Spruce,Western Red Cedar,Engineered Oak

The brief was for a timber building that would sit well within the rural setting over looking the South Downs in Sussex. 143 CLT panels form the entire super structure,walls and roof,of the first floor.

Mimicking the distant hills,the roof is designed to be an undulating surface,formed from a series of 28 triangular pieces.The roof and floors are entirely self-supporting. The CNC cutting technologies of the CLT production result in excellent dimensional stability, this has allowed for the panels to be shaped and the edges chamfered so they come together forming a continuous soffit with no visible joints.These spruce panels are also the finished surface of the interiors, giving a warm and tactile quality to the bedrooms and circulation spaces.The use of CLT meant that this element of the design was built within ten days.The stair form the basement to the first floor is clad with spruce to match the panels.

The entire first floor is clad using Western red cedar. The untreated ceda rages over a short period of time to become silver,matching the bark on the trees surrounding the building. The timber is used as a rain screen with a waterproof layer behind it. The windows and louve red shutters are designed to slide behind the timber cladding. Inside, European oak flooring is used in the first floor circulation spaces and office.

3. THE FISHING HUT

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Location:Hampshire

Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects

Structural Engineer: Price & Myers

Main Contractor/Builder: Inwood Developments Ltd

Joinery Company: Inwood Developments Ltd

Electrical Engineers: R.S Birch and Partners

Plumbing/Heating Contractors: Design Heat Winchester Ltd

Wood Supplier: E.C. Forest Products, East Brothers Timber Ltd

Wood Species: European Oak from France, Douglas Fir from Southern England

The site is a man made lake, originally built as a fish farm, fed by a river that defines its southern boundary. The client wanted a secure place to store boats and fishing tackle that could also function as a meeting place and shelter for anglers.

The building is supported on eighteen pad foundations formed from precast concrete drainage rings placed on the lake bed and filled with concrete. Nine galvanized steel goal post frames are fixed to the pad foundations supporting the timber floor structure and glulam oak superstructure. The roof is
made of softwood rafters, clad internally with oak boards and externally with profiled aluminium sheeting on larch battens. The building’s structure organises its plan into ten bays of 1.8m. Below the eaves, shutters and cladding formed of open jointed timber planks enclose the six central bays. This enclosure comprises a weathertight internal space of four bays and a semi-enclosed storage area.

When closed, the pitched roof and handling of the cladding refers directly to the construction of moder nagricultural buildings. Oak was chosen for the exposed timber structure and cladding due to its colour and grain.The untreated exterior timber will weather to match the silver-grey of the roof cladding and steel supports.

SMALLPROJECT

1. FLOWER KIOSK

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Location:London

Architect: Buchanan Partnership

Structural Engineer: Tall Consulting Structural Engineers

Main Contractor/Builder:Studio Hardie

Joinery Company:StudioHardie

Wood Supplier: Timbmet

Client/Owner:Moutgrange Heritage and the Cundall Partnership

Wood Species: Accoya three-layer Sandwich Board TEC Engineered Wood Component,Germany

The architects were commissioned to design a flower kiosk in an under-used area of pavement adjacent to the client’s shop. The result is a permanent piece of street furniture that enhances the streetscape. The lozenge shape of the kiosk rotates to be open in the day,creating space to prepare and wrap flowers. The external form of the building is derived from microscopic images of flower petals, which reveal tiny three-dimensional ridge patterns across the petal surface.

Timber was an obvious material choice for the external cladding as it adds a sensory dimension. Accoya was chosen for its dimensional stability, extended lifestyle and consistent grain. Three-layer Accoya engineered boards were CNC-cut into 328 individual pieces. The timber slats have been turned horizontally which creates a sense of translucency.However, this also creates an issue with water pooling on the surface. Accoya was considered the only timber material that could withstand this.The kiosk was almost entirely pre-fabricated which allowed the time onsite to be reduced to less than a week, with the building itself being craned in to place in half an hour.

2. HELIX

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Location:London

Architect: Royal College of Art Architecture Students

Structural Engineer: AKTII

Main Contractor/Builder: Millimetre

Joinery Company:Millimetre

Environmental Design: Max Fordham

Wood Supplier: Sydenhams Ltd,Lathams

Client/Owner: Imperial College

Wood Species: Kerto SSLVL from Finland, WISA-Spruce and WISA-Birch plywood from Europe, European Engineered Oak

The Healthcare Innovation Exchange (HELIX) Centre new design studio sits within the ground of St. Mary’s Hospital as a hub to engage front line NHS staff and patients as co-design collaborators.

Kerto was chosen as a means to exploit the tactile, aesthetic and renewable qualities of timber whilst achieving a highly engineered structure. The entire structure comprises a series of interlocking portal frames that stabilise the building in two directions whilst achieving the relatively large clear spanning
roof. Kerto helped to achieve the necessary stiffness and strength need to control lateral movement and ensure the structure was compatible with the glazed walls.On the interior the timber frame is incorporated into bookcases to create a dynamic workspace for creative research.

The main frame has been clad in two layers of glass, held in place by engineered, slotted Oak glazing bars. Naturally ventilated, the tiled facade contains oak-cased pockets allowing the double skin to breathe. This is supplemented by low level heating to the facade during cooler months.

3. LONG SUTTON STUDIO

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Location: Long Sutton, Hampshire

Architect: Cassion Castle Architects

Structural Engineer: Structure Workshop

Wood Supplier: Honeysuckle Bottom Sawmill

Timber Frame Supplier:KingstonCraftsmen

Wood Species: Green Oak,Glulam,Plywood

Long Sutton Studio is a studio, workshop, garage and storeroom built next to a former farm in Hampshire. Timber is the predominant material and the basis for rich contemporary detailing in what appears, at first, to be a very traditional building. Externally, the studio offers a simple and respectful presence alongside the main house. Traditional materials are used throughout; vertical unfinished green oak weather boarding sits upon a red brick plinth beneath a reclaimed tile roof. Two sets of oak clad double doors let light into the building when weather permits. The building’s carbon footprint is negligible.

The interior is a strong contrast to the simple exterior. Here, structural elements are expressed decoratively, with fixtures and fitting used to give character to the space. The primary structure is a series of six glulam portal frames, with lesser elements layered over this in clear hierarchy. Exposed
galvanised steel plates and fixings emphasise the structure and offer further visual interest along the timber and brick. Spaces created within the walls’ depth are employed as workspace, shelving and storage.

4. THEOBSERVATORY:THESTUDYANDTHEWORKSHOP

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Location:Various(currently Lymington Salt Marshes)

Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Main Contractor/Builder: S&S Construction

Engineer:Unitspark Ltd

Wood Supplier: Lathams

Client/Owner: SPUD (Spaces, Placemaking and Urban Design)

Wood Species: Siberian Larch, Native Home Grown

Larch, Canadian Western Red Cedar, Native Home

Grown Chestnut,European Oak,Coillte Smartply,Structural Softwood,Tricoya,Accoya

The brief was to create a mobile and sculptural building to house 12 multidisciplinary artists over a two-year residency that the public can directly engage with in remote landscapes and coastal locations in the UK. The Observatory comprises prefabricated cabins,an artist’s studio (TheStudy) and a public shelter(TheWorkshop),that can be transported together on an 8x2m lorry truck.

A durable structure was required to withstand the conditions of the windy costal locations. Externally, both cabins are clad in charred larch with a ‘test bed’ wall clad in a variety of charred timbers. The decision to char timber was inspired by the familiar art medium of charcoal. It was also desirable as it acts as an insect and rot repellent and creates a unique texture of timber blisters. The timber was burnt using Shou Sugi Ban, a traditional method of burning and preserving wood economically and sustainably. This involves assembling a chimney stack of several braced timber planks, which burn from the bottom upwards,charring the timber within several minutes.The design team will record and monitor the condition of the charred timber as a field that is still largely unexplored in architecture.

As a contrast to the dark and textured exterior, the interior is made of light Accoya and Tricoya, virtually rot proof and highly durable without pairing or varnishing.

Ref: 62698