Timber is one of the oldest and most popular construction materials around, and not without good reason — it is aesthetically pleasing, durable, a natural insulator, lightweight, and has low embodied energy.
Its applications are also well-documented, with timber gaining newfound fame in recent years as the business makes improvements in utilizing engineered wood for bigger, multi-storey projects. However, wood has also discovered new avenues as an exterior wall material.
One of the most common specifications of this product is timber cladding, which normally comes in long and narrow boards which are installed either vertically or horizontally, or in shingle or panel types. But as Breathe Architecture reveals with their Stonewood undertaking, wood may be utilised in more innovative ways.
Using wood in new layout applications is also a highlight for bigger, non-residential applications, with these jobs from Australia and around the world showing that the design possibilities for incorporating timber into a façade really are endless.
Damiani-Holz & Ko (DH&K) by MoDus Architects
When DH&K, a company that in the timber construction field, desired their new office assumptions made, there was a little wonder as to what material could be utilized extensively. This four-storey construction in Italy includes 424 geometric plywood fins that vertically wrap around a simple cubic shape to create a mesmerising, rippling wave effect.
The outside skin has two layers, both made from Kerto’s laminated veneer lumber (LVL) product from Metsa Wood, Architect Magazine reports. The foundation layer comprises 156, 0.83-1 inch thick sheets handled for fungal and weather resistance and finished in a dark stain. Lighter coloured curvilinear fins lie perpendicular to these darker panels to include depth and dynamism to the façade. Windows punctuate this geometry, while the timber louvres shade the constructions’ envelope.
NewActon Nishi by Fender Katsalidis and Arup
NewActon Nishi, a mixed-use residential and commercial development, is the centrepiece of Canberra’s award-winning New Acton precinct, also contains one of Australia’s largest wood façade. More than 40 km of sustainable Australian blackbutt timber shade the glass from morning sunlight to prevent unwanted solar gain and heat, while letting in daylight and letting out views.
The timber facade of the building also incorporates over 90 plant boxes, such as a mixture of climbers and non-toxic, low-water plant species, to increase the biodiversity of the structure, enhance its aesthetics and assist it in maintaining cool. This is complemented by timber balustrading and timber-framed windows for the residential flats, making for a more ‘environmentally responsible’ development.
Sunny Hills Japan by Kengo Kuma & Associates
The Japanese are marvellous with timber layouts, and this shop specialising in the selling of pineapple cake, a popular candy in Taiwan, is no exception. Shaped like a bamboo jar, it is constructed on a joint system referred to as ‘Jigoku-Gumi’, a system traditionally utilized in Japanese wood structure where the cross and vertical pieces of the same width are entwined to form a muntin grid.
Ordinarily, two pieces intersect in two dimensions, however, the architects say they blended the pieces in 30 degrees in 3 dimensions for this undertaking, with the part size of each wood bit reduced to as thin as 60 x 60 mm. The result is a cloud-like, construction that’s easily distinguished from concrete boxes that dominate the residential area.
Monash University Student Housing by BVN
As the primary University project in Australia to be assembled using the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) financing, the Monash University Student Housing had to meet a number of sustainability, community, and quality demands.
Wood was selected alongside black and concrete steel at a palette that merged the building form with the surrounding landscape. The wood façade is angled within the concrete frame to supply both shading and also a lively pattern of light and shade to the modular facades, which have been built offsite and helped the group achieve significant savings.
The double-storey elevation of the average spaces can also be wrapped in wood slats, which offers views to the sports area and bush reserves. The sustainable wood spotted gum boat lap 120 x 20mm and sustainable wood has seen gum battens 68 x 42 mm were equally from Nullarbor.