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Carmarthen Place

Carmarthen Place

Special Award: Offsite Winner 2007

Location: London
Building Owner: Amanda Menage and Robert Mosley
Architect: Emma Doherty, Amanda Menage, Kate Cheyne
Builder/Main Contractor: Super-Structure by Riko Hise
Structural Engineers: Riko Hise, Built Engineers
Joinery: Riko Hise, Bentis Bros & Robert Mosley
Wood Supplier: Riko Hise & Morgan Timber
Wood Species: Solid wood structure & internal finish: Spruce from Slovenia, Exterior cladding: Larch from Siberia, Staircases and internal finishes: English Oak

The project consists of two 2-bedroom houses on a site to the rear of a terraced row of listed buildings in London SE1. One of these 300-year old buildings is our home and our interests lay in sustainable building, and the marriage of ancient and modern.  We researched the history of the street and wider area and uncovered old photographs and documentation, which revealed much use of timber cladding and shuttering (for ventilation).

The two residential buildings are separated by a 1m wide, triple-height void, which forms the shared entrance to Carmarthen Place lane. Timber shutters can be opened/closed for ventilation, as well as changing vistas.  Window seats create cosy, relaxing corners.  The use of timber cladding led to an investigation of structural timber buildings.  Once the decision to use off-site construction was made and permission for siting the crane agreed with neighbours, timber framed systems were compared with timber panel systems.  An innovative solid wood panel system from Slovenia was chosen.  This was particularly interesting as it is a total cassette system – solid wood structural panels complete with insulation, breather membranes, batons and cladding as well as pre-fitted fenestration and doors.  These large panels were craned onto the complex multi-faceted site: the structures erected and bolted together in just 12 days.  These high-performance, prefabricated, solid wood eco-structures are produced in quality controlled factory conditions and represent the latest in modern construction technology. The laminated solid wood panels are 100mm thick and form the breathable structural skeleton of the building, as well as the finished interior surface. The structures are tailor-made to exacting specifications, using locally grown Slovenian spruce for the structure, and close-grained Siberian larch for the cladding, both from managed forests.  The internal staircases are bespoke and were made on site using English oak.