Cabin 2 takes radiata pine glulam inside and out

Skeletal frame reflects prevailing forces

The integral function between the inside and outside of a building is a signature emphasis of one of the best residential designs in the 2014 Australian Timber Design Awards.

View along front of house

The skeletal frame is fully exposed inside and out (click to enlarge)

Cabin 2 by Maddison Architects, Melbourne is a self-contained extension to an existing 1960s log cabin at Blairgowrie on the Mornington Peninsula, surrounded by moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata) woodland.

The new architecture is informed by and embedded into this landscape. A folding roof grows out from the topography as a new type of ‘landform’.  Its supporting pre-fabricated skeletal frame appears influenced by the prevailing wind forces that shape the surrounding trees.

The roof directly reflects the internal volume, and the frame is fully exposed inside and out to convey a structural and architectural honesty.  The monolithic plinth is purposefully part sunk into the land and hollowed out to emphasise a feeling of refuge and physical engagement with the site.

Push an agenda

Rather than being a treatment added on, the interior surfaces carry the inherent nature of their components and push an agenda of integral function between the outside and inside of the building.

Passive solar design principles are followed and the entire northern facade is fully glazed – working in concert with the thermal mass of the insulated concrete floor.

Lounge wide view

Interior surfaces carry the inherent nature of their components (click to enlarge)

The roof is double insulated and its folding form acts as a thermal chimney for ventilating windows. There is a strong emphasis on natural cross ventilation. Southern windows are double-glazed. Large external sliding sunscreens provide an additional active control to the upper bedroom. Roof water is harvested to storage tanks for garden usage.

Multiple forms

The house features timber in multiple forms, including renewably sourced, radial sawn regrowth hardwood external cladding, FSC certified and chain of custody plywood lining, and prefabricated laminated beams.

Main entrance

The house features timber in multiple forms (click to enlarge)

The timber structure – including the highly visible edge beam and mezzanine – is prefabricated H3 treated glue-laminated plantation radiate pine. The timber was carefully selected to avoid the typical knotted look associated with the species.

Timber-clad buildings are synonymous with beachside dwellings, and in this case the exterior is finished with radial sawn stringybark – 75 mm wide, v-grooved shiplap.

Structural ply

The roofing membrane substrate is in structural ply, which keeps the form minimal. The interior and all joinery items were made of, or clad in, 18 mm AC hoop pine ply with a limed finish.

The clean lines of the ply tie in to the lines and angles of the striking concrete plinth, and a harmony is created between the natural colours of the two materials.

The folding form of the roof, and the patterning of butt-jointed panels create a lightly textured canopy that rises above the ground plane to shelter the inhabitants. The junctions of the ply in the roof plane create crisp edges to enhance the ‘folded’ appearance of the roof.

Integrated ply joinery creates a seamless series of planes throughout the design, that when closed, are barely noticeable.

©timber+DESIGN online 2015



  • PROJECT : Cabin 2, Blairgowrie, Victoria
  • ARCHITECT: Maddison Architects (Drew Darling and Amir Shayan)
  • ENGINEER: Perrett Simpson Stantin
  • BUILDER : Frank Pty Ltd
  • WOOD PRODUCTS: Floor system (radiata pine bearer/joists, blackbutt ply), structural (radiata pine glulam and frame), roof (radiata pine rafters, glulam), floor covering (blackbutt structural ply), interior panelling (stringybark and hoop pine ply), joinery (limed hoop pine ply, stringybark), stairs (radiata pine), cladding (stringybark), deck (merbau)
  • AWARDS : 2014 Australian Timber design Awards, Residential Class 1 – new building
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Will Watt


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