Timber Structure low energy house in Wadebridge, Cornwall.

We love to use Timber to make our buildings, for its structural abilities, its low carbon footprint, and the dizzying array of cladding opportunities it provides. We believe wood is a truly inspiring material.

We have been advocating the use of timber in construction for many years now. And our principal architect Mark has recently completed his own house using timber as an intergal component of almost all parts of the construction. The house is situated in Wadebridge, Cornwall and is designed on passivhaus principles, utilising wood for many reasons and in many ways, inside and out. From the structure and the window frames to the finished walls, timber construction can take a myriad of forms. Even the Warmcel insulation is timber via the circuitous route of wood-pulp to paper to recycling. To know more about this project have a look at our website.

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View from the first floor.

 

Timber has a lot of benefits over other materials, even more so for a low energy home where the environmental footprint of the materials themselves can become a large concern. Wood is a good insulator, the antonym to steel, as metal conducts thermal energy easily. Let’s take a simple example:  when you cook on the hob, the pan will quickly increase in temperature and you would certainly not touch it without risking a burn. On the other hand, the wooden spoon you are using, will insulate your hand from the heat, and even if it stays in the pan, you will not harm yourself by using it. In a house the same principle applies, here the Warmcel insulation [wood in the form of recycled newspaper] has been used to create a 40 cm thick layer of insulation, with an additional wood-fibre board wrap helping to avoid cold-bridging.

 

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Roof detail.

 

“People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results.” Albert Einstein. Wood also is very satisfying as on site the main structure of a house can be put together within a few days. In a few weeks, you can watch your house transform from being a foundation to a full structure.

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Wood is also renewable and environmentally friendly because wood absorbs a lot of CO2 during the growing process and that makes it very close to being a carbon neutral material – some even argue it is carbon negative as it locks in carbon that would otherwise be contributing to global warming! For Mark’s house the timber was sourced from sustainable managed forests, mostly it is Douglas Fir from the nearby Duchy Timber woodland.

 

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Timber has both good mechanical and working properties. We are always learning new ways in which wood can be utilised in our buildings, but more and more complex timber buildings are growing everywhere.

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T3 building in Minneapolis.

For example, at the end of last year the highest timber building was completed in Minneapolis, USA. Here’s what the architect Michael Green had  to say about his building in his TED talk “I’ve never seen anyone walk into one of my buildings and hug a steel or concrete column. But I’ve actually seen that happen in wood buildings.”

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So even though we love to work with many materials, wood is definitely one of our favourites.

Here is another example of another project made of timber to know more about this award-winning design have a look at our page about it on our website.

To know more about our projects and our practice have a look at our website.

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