WoodBlock House

The project represents a genuine collaboration between architect and client, a chance for experimentation that produced utilitarian delight in every aspect of the finished product. The brief was to create a studio, home and office for UK artist Richard Woods and his family. The result was a simple, large workshop and printing studio space on the ground floor, with separate living accommodation above, all characterized by the qualities of timber, good spaces and ample daylight.

WoodBlock House is a response to a family’s needs and a reflection of dRMM’s commitment to sustainability through the use of engineered timber. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is formed from timber that is sustainably managed in northern Europe. This material is the only ‘carbon positive’ method for long span structures wherein more carbon dioxide is absorbed through the lifetime of the trees used than expended through manufacture, delivery and installation.

Further benefits in using the system are: increased quality through off-site manufacture, shorter programme periods, elimination of ‘wet trades, and robustness. CLT was used together with waste timber insulation and timber cladding. The home section of the building is south-facing superimposed on the north-facing studio. They are formed as two boxes sitting on each other, the house clad in painted plywood, the studio in unpainted larch.

Nestled snugly between its neighbouring materials of brick and concrete, WoodBlock House adds new tactile and visual expression to the fabric of London. The project is a modest manifesto for engineered timber and mixed-use, for economy and for colour.

Photography © Alex de Rijke