HOME DESIGN | Bridging the layers between design and function

The CLT House is an example of trust and collaboration between architect and builder with a shared vision to showcase the potential of a sustainable construction system while remaining true to design, function and the surrounds. Pictures: Dianna Snape.
The CLT House is an example of trust and collaboration between architect and builder with a shared vision to showcase the potential of a sustainable construction system while remaining true to design, function and the surrounds. Pictures: Dianna Snape.

Named after the cross laminated timber it was born from, the CLT House on Victoria's Morning Peninsula was created from an appreciation of engineered timber and the role it can play in functional design.

Project architect Fiona Dunin of FMD Architects said the CLT House offered 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," Ms Dunin said.

"An incredible amount of research and development was put into CLT, which is a mass timber construction system that minimises the use of steel and maximise timber throughout the house."

FMD Architects worked closely with builder CCB Envico to ensure high quality finishes using the timber throughout the idyllic family holiday-home.

The project encompassed a reconfiguration of the existing building as the base with a new upper floor addition, which spanned the established gardens on the site and replaned the home with a new central core for this multi-generational family home.

"A key design feature in the home is the bridge that you see on approach to the property," Ms Dunin said.

"The main extension over the original part of the house, this is really the new core of the home. A central gathering point for all the different family members to come together. And work together, play together, relax together.

"It's an area of congregation and also an area of retreat."

A sawtooth roofline added a rhythmic quality and as the predominant architectural feature of the design, was both lyrical and rational, Ms Dunin said.

"The sawtooth allows a lot of natural light to come into the space, but also on every one of these pitched elements is a bank of solar panels, which actually powers the whole house," Ms Dunin said.

The large 10-metre, clear-span walls were punctuated with long slot windows for cross ventilation, while the roof peaks also had integrated, motorised ventilation slots to release excess heat in summer, which work in conjunction with industrial ceiling fans.

LED strips were routed into the ceiling beams allowing a seamless integration within the structure so as not to distract from the overall architectural form, rather becoming decorative elements in the space that crowded the design, Ms Dunin said.

The use of CLT allowed for large spanning timber structures with minimal steel. Engineered timber was used for the walls, stairs, beams.

"[Inside] our obsession with CLT was taken to another level, basically the whole interior was fabricated out of CLT," Ms Dunin said.

"We really wanted to celebrate the material in its large scale mass, but also in the beautiful fine details with the same material.

"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."

So much so, that the engineers screw connections were left exposed to show the inherent beauty of the connection system.

"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," Ms Dunin said.

  • Sourced from architecture resource BowerBird