It is not often we see timber structures being celebrated when it comes to architecture and design; people tend to favour high rise buildings and modern tower blocks. Some wooden structures have a classic and rustic feel about them, whilst others have a very modern appearance. Here at Timber 2 U Direct, we want to celebrate and share our top 8 structures from around the world that are made from timber. Who knows, perhaps they might inspire you to create a smaller scale project of your own?
1. Old Government Buildings, New Zealand
When it was built in 1876, the Government Buildings in New Zealand were the largest wooden buildings for more than a century. The main building was designed to reflect classic Italian Renaissance buildings. Even though it looks like a stone palace, it is built from a timber called Kauri. A year after the Old Government Buildings were built, Kauri became a protected wood. This placed the forests with Kauri wood under protection of the Department of Conservation, making the building even more unique. Due to the structure being made of wood and the constant threat of fire, the Government Buildings became one of the first smoke-free buildings in New Zealand.
This building was home to the Ministers’ offices the Cabinet room and all Wellington-based civil servants. Since then, public service has expanded beyond the building’s capacity and by 1990, the last of the departments had moved out of the building – after 114 years. It received some restoration work in 1996 that cost $25 million (ASD) and today, the Law Faculty of Victoria University of Wellington resides within most of the building.
2. Horyu-ji Temple, Japan
The Horyu-ji Temple is the oldest surviving timber structure in the world! Built over 1300 years ago by order of the empress of Suiko, this five story Buddhist temple offers a window into Japan’s rich history. This structure was built in the style of traditional Chinese Buddhist architecture. Being of such significance to Japan, the temple is a UNSECO World Heritage site, and the Japanese government has listed artefacts inside as National Treasures.
3. Community Church of Knarvik, Norway
In Norway, you can find a church with a very interesting angular architecture style. The Community Church of Knarvik was built in 2014 and has a pre-weathered pine cladding exterior with a pointed pyramidal steeple. The incredible and detailed architecture also continues inside the church with 2 floors that can hold up to 500 people.
4. U Bein Bridge, Myanmar
The U Bein Bridge is the oldest teak bridge in the world; this is not the only thing that makes it unique. According to local legend, the surface teak was taken from the old royal palace of Inwa, the former Burmese capital. The bridge is supported by over 1000 wooden pillars that have been hammered into the bottom of the shallow lake which spans 3,90 feet wide. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Myanmar and because of this, the bridge has required slight maintenance over the years. A few of the wooden pillars have been replaced with concrete to secure the bridge. It’s definitely not lost its charm though!
5. Kennecott Mines, Alaska
Back in the day, Kennecott, Alaska, was famous for its copper industry. It relied on the production of the material as the main source of income for the town. A 14-story timber frame mill building was built to cope with the increasing mining industry, along with other buildings. These structures have since become obsolete with the copper trade dying out in Kennecott. Today, the town and the mill are protected as part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The structure still stands, and tourists can visit to go hiking to the abandoned mines.
6. SunnyHills cake shop, Japan
This timber structure looks just as impressive on the inside as it does outside. Situated in Japan, SunnyHills cake shop boasts an impressive wooden lattice structure on the outside of the building. The architects developed the design based on a well-crafted bamboo basket and it was constructed from over 5000 metres of wooden strips.
The aim of the design was to create a forest in the middle of a busy city. The timber joints are at varied angles so the light shines through in different ways. This design helps to evoke the forest feel inside the shop.
7. Superior Dome, Michigan
The Superior Dome is the world’s largest wood-domed structure at an impressive span of 536 feet. When it was first designed, it prevented an engineering challenge, which was solved by producing a single, laminated timber dome system. This was found to be the most cost effective and dynamic solution that would produce an enclosed and weather-protected environment for multiple sports. The dome is approximately 14-stories and spread over 51 acres with 781 Douglas Fir beams and 108 miles of fir decking.
8. The Cube, London
Believe it or not, one of the tallest timber structures resides in the UK – Hackney in London to be precise. The Cube was completed in 2015 and stands at 33 meters tall! The design combines cross-laminated timber with some steel reinforcements to create a hybrid structure highlighting the beauty of both timber and steel.
If this list of timber structures from across the world has inspired you, then Timber 2 U Direct can help. We may not be able to help you build the next Horyu Temple but if you need the materials for smaller scale home improvements, garden additions or cladding projects then you are in the right place.
Timber 2 U Direct, the online trading arm of Brooks Bros LTD, can deliver made-to-measure timber directly to your door, no matter where you are in the UK. We have many different styles of wood to choose from including European Oak and Iroko. Get in touch with us today to start your project!