An article we published in March introduced a stunning building which is inspired by Japanese architecture. Blackbird is a sleek, low rise and sustainable lakeside property, where the connection with nature has been considered in every aspect of the design. This includes being timber clad in Minami-No, our charred Kebony Radiata Pine.

The unique property was featured in the July 2023 edition of Grand Designs magazine. Described as a ‘Cotswold Pioneer’ the imagery and write-up showcase the considered space, outlook and finer details of this blackened, self-build in Gloucestershire.

It is certainly a break from the traditional and much-loved Cotswold stone. Some believe that new builds should be in keeping with the style and building materials of the area. As such, it is a risk to break free and make a statement. However, Blackbird is a fantastic example of how fresh thinking and architectural excellence can work. Who wouldn’t want to live here?

RIBA Award Winners Announced

Blackbird was also selected as the South West Award winner and one of thirty National winners in the RIBA Awards 2023. We want to extend our congratulations to Nicholas Lyons, Hamish Herford and the _and-Lyons Architects team for this amazing achievement!

The judges’ comments included the following:

“A home that is truly a delight to enter and discover. Materially the palette is restrained, often dark but never stark. Black metal diamond shingles cover the roof, charred timber boarding clads the walls and black oak flooring is used internally throughout. But there is lightness and softness too, with exposed spruce rafters and a very huggable green oak post to the living room.”

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And There’s More Timber Clad Buildings

Blackbird is one of a kind, however, with inspirational architecture like this, it’s little wonder we’re a significant shift towards timber cladding on contemporary builds and renovations.

The National RIBA winners 2023 include several other timber clad buildings.

  • Cuddymoss in Ayrshire, Scotland, where a timber clad extension is concordant with the ancient stone ruin that has been sensitively renovated into a cosy dwelling. Architect: Ann Nisbet Studio
  • Spruce House & Studio in Walthamstow, London, where a contemporary cross-laminated timber clad building has been beautifully integrated into an urban conservation area. Architect: ao-ft
  • Pen Y Common in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, where considered design and a timber clad extension has breathed new life into a traditional Welsh longhouse. Architect: Nidus Architects & Rural Office

In addition, timber is a dominant building material used in the John Morden Centre in Blackheath, London, Lea Bridge Library Pavilion and the University of Warwickshire Faculty of Arts. All of which are worthy winners.

There is no doubt that over the past decade, timber construction has become commonplace in notable private and public buildings across the UK. It provides a direct connection with nature, which fits the brief for aesthetically desirable, insulated and sustainable construction.

We are delighted that Shou Sugi Ban® timber cladding has been specified for several RIBA award winning builds over recent years, along with a couple of Grand Designs projects. These include Sayang House, where a lighter finish of timber cladding was selected. We look forward to seeing the contenders for the 2024 awards.

Shou Sugi Ban® charred timber is offered in a variety of timbers and a choice of coloured and textured finishes. To view the full range, please download our cladding brochure from our website. To request samples for your self-build, property development or renovation, get in touch on 01494 711800.

Photography by ©James Brittain

Architect: _and-lyons-architects with Hamish Herford