The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Great Designs in Wood (12)

This fascinating structure really exhibits an aspect of wood not usually featured; that is, the architectural interest of the wood components as a system. Usually, wood homes and buildings feature the natural beauty of the wood components in prominent places, while allowing other physical elements of the design to "accessorize" the building, in the process delegating the structural design a less prominent visual role. This home allows you to appreciate the beauty of the wood while you marvel at the structural flexibility and integrity of wood design potential.

From we get an introduction to the home:
"The Guscott Kemp Residence has been designed by Scott M. Kemp Architect, it represents a new approach to sustainable home construction, and is located in Ladner, British Columbia, Canada.
The concept idea was to create a house as a simple shelter based on sustainable features, and to be designed as small as possible in order to allow for maximum flexibility, including adaptability of use with aging residents and subsequent reduced mobility. Also, we have to mention that the house has achieved a LEED PLATINUM rating from the Canadian Green Building Council. The house provides protection and creates a great connection between the indoor and the outdoor space, maximizing the exposure of views to the north with the desire for maximum sunshine."
From the website HomeTrend are these additional comments:
"The house is zero carbon, all heating, including hot water is through a heat pump using a closed circuit system which has a geothermal heat-exchange plate hanging in the river below the dock. The house includes a fireplace and has no connection with the gas. Minimal air leakage was obtained by using SIP panels and careful detailing. The form of construction is designed in accordance with solar orientation, with 90% of south glass shade at midday on June 21 and exposed on Dec. 21."
 Sometimes these cutting-edge architectural showpieces aren't really too livable, but this home really does look like a xylophile's dream. The nice kitchen is small, but functional, and integrates modern conveniences without ostentatious displays of technology. My wife likes more granite and chrome, and she would have to have a cooking island, but if she'd let me build the rest of this home, I'd let her go a little wild with the bling.

The living spaces are airy, yet cozy, and utilize the natural light pattern variability throughout the day to maximize that presence of sunlight so important to folks who reside above the 45th parallel. And exterior views appear to continually draw the resident's thoughts to the natural beauty of the riverside setting.

The construction detail exhibits beauty and power that goes with good, simple, wood engineering. And all this was achieved at a construction cost of $230/sq. ft.

"The house is constructed with two building systems: SIP panels (structural insulated panels) and exposed timber framing. Sip panels make up the southern portion of the house (garage and workshop including the side walls) and the roof. The remaining portion of the house is made up of an exposed timber framing. The framing is not, however constructed from large heavy timber sections but conventional dimensioned timbers (2×6, 2×8 and 2×10) intertwined together to create a heavy timber expression. The lattice joints form a truss to provide lateral bracing."
And the home even has a great story from the wood sourcing standpoint...
"No trees were cut to build the house. All the timber was milled from salvaged logs harvested from an elk reserve on Vancouver Island. A significant number of trees were blown down during the large winds storm that hit the west coast several years ago. The fallen trees presented a significant fire hazard as well as obstructing the natural migratory routes of the elk."
A lot of thought went into the execution of this dream home. In a perfect world, all homes would reflect a sensitivity of our space on the planet as well as this one does. And no building material helps us make that connection better than wood. Unless we build in a hole in the ground.

I'll take the wood home.

More pictures of the house can be seen here and here.

Go Wood!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love wooden houses, but I have to disagree with the comment that this house exhibits simple wood engineering. There is more than what the eye sees in this house (i.e. connections, joints, engineered wood products, etc.). Also, I am concerned with the use of a heat exchange plate in the river below the house which could pose some ecological questions related to aquatic ecosystems (I assume the river is a salmon habitat). In addition, this is no small house and the design is not the best I've seen in wooden house construction, especially on the West Coast. The wooden cross-braces did not do it for me (but the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course). Overall, great house ideed! Marian, Vancouver, BC