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Our obsession with wood shingles.

We’re obsessed with this article from Architectural Digest by , as it beautifully explores architect’s creative and practical obsession with shingles and shakes (“their brawnier, split cousins”).

Memorable quotes from the article:

It may be that newly arrived colonists were influenced by the practices of local Indigenous peoples such as the Wampanoag in Massachusetts, whose winter dwellings were constructed using overlapping sheets of bark. But the proliferation of wood shingles may also have been an adaptation of old-world models to a new context: “Shingles have been a common roof solution for a long, long time,” says John Ike, a partner at the AD PRO Directory–listed architectural firm Ike Baker Velten in Oakland, California. “And in America wood was the most plentiful, readily accessible material.”

With so much going for them, how can anyone not be a shingle fan? This humble slice of wood is “ingrained in the American mind as something that says ‘home,’” Kligerman (principal of Kligerman Architecture & Design) concludes, while at the same time “it has enormous flexibility. And because shingles are so lightweight, you can do all kinds of design gymnastics if you want.”

The article posits five reasons why shingles and shakes  are still popular with architects, builders and homeowners.

1. Shingles are meaningful
2. Shingles are versatile
3. Shingles are suitable for many styles
4. Shingles can be used indoors and out
5. Shingles can be economical, long-lasting, and sustainable

Below are a few stunning examples:

Although a centuries-old cladding material, wood shingles are now are being used in new and innovative ways by architecture firms like Ike Baker Velten.Photo: Peter Aaron


Green-hued shingles cover this New Jersey country house by Ike Baker Velten, a firm renowned for its use of the cladding material. Photo: Peter Aaron
Kligerman Architecture & Design chose to pair traditional wood shingles with contemporary materials for a house in Bridgehampton, New York. Photo: Richard Powers


The versatility of wood shingles means they are suitable for many different home styles, including traditional New England cottages like this one in Bellport, New York, by Michael Vincent Design.


At this Sagaponek, New York, home by Kligerman Architecture & Design, shingles are laid in different patterns on various parts of the building. Photo: Eric Piasecki


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