Dealing with living in a forest clearing

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This set of three small buildings and the spaces between provides a second home for a young family. Two are inhabited: the larger for the family, the smaller for friends and older children, with peripheral decks connecting to the forest clearing.

The third building provides independent amenities to external spaces, allowing for camping, friends and outdoor activities. Open external spaces breathe and flow with the clearing canopy above, in contrast with protected rich and shadow-filled withdrawal spaces inside.

Materials were chosen to blend with the surrounding bush and dappled forest light, including oiled cedar, simply finished metals and eucalypt decking outside. Interiors are consistent and pure, with dark ply wall, ceiling and joinery linings providing a sense of retreat from the clearing.

Architect: Irving Smith Jack Architects Ltd


Building within the eucalypt forest required a strategy to protect the complex from falling branches and gumballs. A sacrificial longspan metal roof provides a low-cost and readily replaceable protective layer able to be marked and dinged by falling debris while still capturing roof water for storage and use.

The roof structure supports the metal roofing over hardwood purlin rafters supported on steel portal frames, which brace and strengthen the structure to the timber building below. Minimal roof members are required, resulting in increased transparency and lightness to the additional roofing layer, with the hardwood purlins carefully scaled to provide richness and texture. Bracing is achieved through an additional layer of construction ply.

Dark-stained Tasmanian blackwood ply was chosen for interior walls, ceilings and joinery. This has allowed cabinetry-type detailing, with secret fixings used extensively throughout internal spaces – providing a seamless consistency and rich material quality as a retreat from the ever-changing dappled light of the forest surrounds.

Timber was limited to a small palette of plantation-grown species selected for their specific finish and feel within the surrounding eucalypt bush colours and textures, and for workability and ease of delivery to the remote site.

Timbers used in this case study:

Interior

Flooring: 

E. saligna

Internal Paneling: 

Tasmanian blackwood veneered plywood Architrave

Joinery Cabinetry: 

Tasmanian blackwood veneered plywood

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