Found-forms and Timber Shelters

School has started again and it has us thinking about recess (who doesn’t love recess?) and thereby the playscapes kids enjoy. We began asking what role wood has in these spaces which brought to the discussion a recent project at the Lilac Adventure Zone Playground. A “natural playground” in Highland Park in Rochester, NY by Barton & Loguidice, the space highlights found forms for play and modern pavilions for shelter.

There has been a surge in natural playgrounds [natural playscapes] which inherently focus on wood and the natural landscape. “Biophilic design, connecting with nature, was central to this playground project,” explained Tom Robinson, senior landscape architect, and LEED AP at Barton & Loguidice.

Biophilia. It’s a term that we’re hearing with regularity these days, and that’s exciting! From Edward Wilson’s “Biophilia” meaning ‘the rich, natural pleasure that comes from being surrounded by living organisms’. Research is conclusive that access to nature and nature-inspired spaces help reduce stress and illness. “We’re trying to recreate the experience of playing in the woods, in fields with rocks and sticks. The idea is to encourage exploration and free play with natural materials,” continued Tom.

Many young explorers and adventurers amidst the natural elements of Lilac Adventure Zone Playground.

The playground itself evolved as the natural materials arrived, trees, branches, rocks salvaged from other park project renovations. “The elements within the playground tend to change and morph as materials initially arrive, and as time passes and elements need to be removed/replaced.”

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Timber Frame and Solar: SunCommon’s Solar Canopy

 

Combining solar with timber framing? We’re all in. We’ve teamed up with SunCommon, a solar energy company with locations in Vermont and New York to bring their latest innovation, the Solar Canopy, to life.

These structures are making solar even easier to add to businesses and homes. The canopies are great for over driveways, parking areas, patios, wood piles, or serving as new outdoor spaces. We like this project as an energy producer, gathering spot, and outdoor storage space–the uses are nearly limitless.

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Re-designing a 1980’s Timber Frame

Re-use and reclamation:

exterior of modernized timber frame

The exterior of Daniel and Sheri’s 1980’s timber frame had a face lift including re-working large windows, re-forming the main entry, and updating cladding.

Refreshing older timber frame structures to meet modern vernaculars and layouts is an interesting challenge. It reminds us what an extremely flexible building method timber framing is. With the frame carrying the load of the enclosure, interior walls are free to be moved and adapted.

Daniel and Sheri asked for our help in redesigning their 1980s timber frame. The layout and fenestration wasn’t meeting the needs for their large family. The re-design for the existing frame has created modern, open layouts. One major change was the window design for the front fascia. Removing a beam and replacing it allowed more light and wider views from inside the home.

original face of older timber home

Original fenestration.

We re-worked the window layout, removing and replacing timber beams to create more open views.

We re-worked the window layout, removing and replacing timber beams to create more open views.

From the great room views are no longer segmented by the 1980's frame.

From the great room views are no longer segmented by the 1980’s frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The New Energy Works team came in and walked us through the process to create a home of peace and beauty. There is not a day that goes by where we are not overwhelmed with gratitude for what our home has become.” – Daniel & Sheri

As we chatted with Daniel and Sheri we learned that their family enjoys gathering together, sharing meals, and being immersed in the outdoors. Creating a new addition, in the form of an attached timber frame pavilion/outdoor kitchen, became a ‘must’ for the overall update.

As-found industrial timbers were given new life as the frame for Daniel & Sheri's outdoor kitchen/dining/living space.

As-found industrial timbers were given new life as the frame for Daniel & Sheri’s outdoor kitchen/dining/living space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Industrial as-found timbers were combined with artisan concrete to form a large outdoor dining and gathering space for the family of 5. In addition, an arbor connects the new space to the home.

We can imagine many meals and parties taking place under these reclaimed timbers.

We can imagine many meals and parties taking place under these reclaimed timbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re sure to share more images and details on this project. Check out our case studies and Facebook for the latest.

(Photos by Loren Nelson Photography)