18 November 2020
CLT House is a bridge between architectural thinking and sustainable construction methods. It is a poetic and pragmatic balance between architect and builder, whose relationship developed from the concept design to ensure a highly considered outcome.
The project encompasses a reconfiguration of the existing building as the base with a new upper floor addition which spans the established gardens on the site and replans the home with a new central core for this multigenerational family home.
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The pitched roofs to the north integrate an extensive solar array with high level windows at its peak to capture the changing light throughout the day. The large 10m clear span walls are punctuated with long slot windows for cross ventilation. The roof peaks also have integrated motorised ventilation slots to release excess heat in summer which work in conjunction with industrial ceiling fans.
From the outset the house was designed with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). The use of CLT allows for large spanning timber structures with minimal steel. Internally the CLT is celebrated by exposing the structure on the walls and floors which demanded absolute precision in the construction system to achieve a finely crafted outcome. The engineers screw connections are left exposed to show the inherent beauty of the connection system. Interior elements such as bookshelves, desks, pivot doors and bar units are also made from CLT to emphasise the natural qualities of the materials at a finer scale. Lighting is integrated into the ceiling beams and walls to avoid any distraction of decorative elements in this powerful space.
The existing ground floor areas have been reconfigured and refurbished. New double glazing, wall insulation and roofs rebuilt to accommodate additional solar panels over. The kitchen acts as a pivot point between the existing ground floor and the new CLT extension, with a palette of materials which draws from both zones.
The views from the interior are continually change throughout the days and seasons. Each triangular window offers its own unique view of the treetops and sky, while the lower slot windows offer surprising glimpses at a smaller scale of the local flora and fauna.
Typical daily experiences are elevated beyond ritual to full immersion with nature and being surrounded by the timber interior bring a constant calm and soothing experience.
The large multi-purpose bridge space serves as a quiet retreat for the owners, library, home office for the family business, as well as play space for the grandchildren. It can be both quiet and noisy, serene and playful. Its central location which spans the different wings of the house allows all 3 generations to come together and play, talk, relax and enjoy each other’s company.
A longstanding relationship between architect and builder built on trust and collaboration, has enabled the use of an emerging sustainable construction system to inform and direct the architectural language into a rigorous design response to its rural landscape.