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Exquisite Way to Show the Benefits of Prefabricated Wood Construction

Date: 09-Oct-17
Author: David Rowlinson

The Wood House, Lake Maggiore © David Rowlinson

The Wood House, Lake Maggiore

Article first appeared in Dezeen

This prototype house overlooking Lake Maggiore in the foothills of the Swiss Alps was designed to demonstrate the capabilities of prefabricated wood construction, and features charred-timber facades enclosing a bright-white interior.

Designers Nicole Lachelle and Christian Niessen believe wood construction represents "the most modern, ecological, sustainable, flexible, beautiful, enjoyable, healthiest and smartest way to build", which they wanted their rural retreat to epitomise.

"The coherent creative principles are expressed through clean forms, lack of extraneous decoration and a straightforward palette of materials used in their original state," said Lachelle and Niessen.

The rectilinear volume was constructed using solid cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels set on a concrete base, which facilitated a swift build time as the panels were prefabricated off-site.

The excellent strength and stability of the CLT panels enabled the project team to create entirely open-plan spaces with high thermal efficiency and the ecological benefits typically associated with timber construction.

The building's exterior is clad in blackened-timber boards created using the ancient Japanese technique of shou sugi ban, which involves charring the wood, cooling it, and finishing it with natural oil.

All materials used for finishing surfaces throughout the building are natural and organic, with the internal CLT walls treated with natural chalk paint that exposes the wood's grain.

Based on their experience creating and living in the building, Lachelle and Niessen plan to continue applying their ideas about timber construction to future sustainable projects through The Wood Creative design studio.

"We feel that the public perception of modern architecture is still so dominated by concrete and steel as building materials," the designers concluded. "We really need to embrace more sustainable, sensible building materials and propose better alternatives."

More exemplar projects

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David                                             Rowlinson
Author: David Rowlinson

Make it Wood Program Manager

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