Behind the remaining walls of a derelict farm building in Somerset, the shell of a new architectural archive was constructed of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels without insulation, external wall cladding or internal lining. The structural panels range from 300 mm to 420 mm in thickness and simultaneously provide the building with insulation and thermal mass. This combination creates stability of temperature and relative humidity for the drawings held in the archive and is complemented by a void between the timber and the roof cladding that, during hot summer months, allows ventilation to prevent the shell from overheating.
A by-product of the panels being sized for their thermal performance rather than their structural efficiency was that the roof panels were able to span length-wise. This meant the long side walls took minimal loads and a downstand at the apex of the roof pitch could be avoided, allowing the creation of simple internal volumes.
A galvanized steel frame spanning the length of the building supports the profiled fibre cement roof and also provides a counterpoint to the CLT panels. This is partly reflected externally with the use of galvanized guttering and down pipes. Beautifully profiled galvanized doors and drainage details further contrast the minimal finishes used internally, contributing towards its green architecture credentials.
Images © David Grandorge