Five creative architectural projects that use timber differently

Elegant and durable, timber is one of architects’ favourite building materials for its versatility and natural aesthetic. Discover five creative architectural projects that use timber in innovative ways.

Coolum Beach Streetscaping Project in Coolum Beach, Queensland

The Coolum Beach Streetscaping Project in Queensland won ‘Best Commercial Exterior’ in the Intergrain Timber Vision Awards. Designed by product designer and urban artist Carl Holder, this public work of art uses recycled timber cladding to create a distinctly Australian design aesthetic. The three-dimensional 12 metre long installation creates a sense of tactile fluidity, with swirls and currents eddying within the surface of the wood. The work celebrates and seamlessly integrates with Coolum’s natural beach landscape.

Westgarth Timber Project, Melbourne

The Westgarth Timber Project, designed by Ben Callery Architects and located in north Melbourne uses an array of recycled, re-milled and salvaged timbers to create a stunning, thermally efficient and well-oriented home that embraces creativity and sustainable design.

The entire house is brimming with a sense of warmth, tactility and authenticity. The lightweight structure features timber cladding, heavily insulated with batts made from recycled glass. To complement this organic aesthetic, the architects constructed a dramatically raking roof out of recycled timber to maximise solar gain and a cantilevered upper floor to provide sun shading.

Timber Clad Sauna, Sweden

The Timber Clad Sauna in Sweden was designed by architecture group Murman Arkitekter. Sitting on a jetty, this unique house, designed to mimic the shape of a public bathhouse in Saltsjobaden, uses planks of locally sourced pine to clad the roof using a traditional Swedish technique for laying wood called Faltak. The designers then applied an iron sulphate treatment to the timber to create a grey, weathered effect that blended with the seaside environment.

Inside the house, the sauna features a traditional stepped-seating arrangement made from pale timber, while the sitting room is built with pine in the style of a boat’s interior. Throughout the house, the floors are crafted from rectangular pieces of pale grey slate and the walls are lined with planks of pale pine.

Multipurpose building Nishi, Canberra

The Nishi Building, built in the heart of Canberra, won the International Project of the Year Award at the 2015 Building Awards in London. Designed by Fender Katsalidis?, the Suppose Design Office and Arup, the Nishi Building is a sustainable, mixed-use building that houses many commercial ventures. Outside from the street, the impressive timber cladding facade is adorned with many climbing plants, while inside, the foyer features thousands of pieces of recycled timber, organised to create a rich tunnel of wood that leads up to a huge staircase.

Lilyfield Warehouse, New South Wales

Designed by Virginia Kerridge Architect, Lilyfield Warehouse is a creative transformation of a rendered brick industrial warehouse building into a family home in Sydney’s inner west. The winner of two HOUSES awards, the house creatively uses recycled ironbark timber walls, weathered to a silvery grey, to complement and give the exposed brick walls warmth. Outside, black-stained timber trusses trace the profile of the original warehouse roof, creating a vantage point above the gardens.

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