February 2017

Earlier this month, the exhibitor line up for Dubai Design Days was announced and timber is once again the material of choice for many of the pieces set to go on display next month. Particularly interesting is ‘Seed to Seat’, a collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and seven of the most prominent and exciting designers in the UAE. The designers have been given an open brief and asked to design ‘something to sit on’. The pieces, which will be made from a selection of four American hardwood species, will be unveiled at Design Days Dubai 2017, which will run from March 14 – 17, at Dubai Design District. With Seed to Seat, AHEC aims to identify the true environmental impact of design and build on its extensive work with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and we look forward to profiling the designers and their pieces in the coming issue.

We also throw the spotlight on the winner of the WAN 2016 Residential Award – Patch22. Standing 30 meters tall, the project is the tallest wooden apartment building in the Netherlands and has been developed by Lemniskade Projects, who won the Sustainability Tender Amsterdam Buiksloterham with their proposal back in 2009. An interesting point to note is that Patch22 was developed by the architects themselves. FRANTZEN et al architects and H20 installation consultancy & building management jointly established Lemniskade Projects to realize Patch22 at their own expense and risk. They wanted to achieve independently what they had never been able to manage when working on commissions for their previous clients: an outsized wooden building with a great degree of exibility, striking architecture and a high level of sustainability, not because that was what was required but because that is what ought to be done.

Due to be completed later this year, the International House Sydney is a seven-storey commercial building, currently under construction at Barangaroo. Designed by Tzannes for Lendlease, the timber structure building will be the first modern commercial engineered timber building of its size and type in Australia. In this issue, we talk to the design team about the project, which explores a new form of beauty, one that celebrates the unique and integral character of a complete timber structure, rather than using applied niches and embellishments to give an illusion of timber materiality, which is only skin deep. The design makes extensive use of structural engineered timber and recycled hardwood timber throughout. Tzannes has turned the structural limitations imposed by the use of timber to advantage and celebrated them, forming a unique colonnade form evocative of a forest of trees to give the building its distinctive character.

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