Blackened Pine Beach House Takes in Dramatic Ocean Views

casa ss charred pine siding chile in landscape

Dark, dramatic pine remains a strong trend for home exteriors, whether you choose to paint, stain or char the wood. The latter technique has additional protective benefits, like making the building more resistant to fire and insects, but all three add statement-making contemporary flair. In this case, architect Pablo Saric paired it with vertical pine siding for his own stunning single-story family home overlooking the rocky coastline of Chile.

casa ss charred pine siding chile front wall

Casa SS was designed with two primary features in mind: prioritizing views of the sea for everyone, and reducing light pollution from the home at night, which could affect sensitive wildlife in the area. The location is so remote, there’s no electric street lighting, making it a great place to gaze at the stars. Working with fellow architect Cristian Winckler, Saric arranged the layout in a single, simple line, so every room has its own floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking the water.

casa ss charred pine siding chile

Pine is a big part of what makes this home so powerful. When you approach from the road, all you see is those vertical slats extending the full height of the building, giving the home a sleek linear silhouette. There are no windows on the back or side walls at all: just a single entry door that leads into the main living area. The side walls extend forward like protective wings, creating outdoor spaces that are sheltered from the sometimes brutal coastal winds. The roof is covered in solar panels to power the off-grid residence.

casa ss charred pine siding chile dining room
casa ss charred pine siding chile bedroom

The home was prefabricated offsite, with modules transported over 160 miles from Santiago and set in place with a truck crane. The minimalist design, including the charred vertical pine siding, was a carefully considered aesthetic choice.

casa ss charred pine siding chile protected patio

“We tried to reduce the palette of materials to a minimum to avoid a lot of visual information,” Saric told Dezeen.

“The idea is that the landscape is the protagonist, so the cladding is all in wood placed vertically. The doors of the rooms and the closets also use this material, and they try to disappear into the continuity of the interior and exterior walls,” he explained.

Top 2021 Trends in Timber Construction

CLT building in Boston

A new Think Wood survey (pdf) gives us a peek into what kinds of wood-related building projects we’ll see a lot more of this year. The industry group surveyed 775 U.S. architects, contractors, developers and industry experts to build a list of the top trends in timber construction, and how much they’ll likely continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While 38% of respondents expect to see some delays this year, 28% expect no impact at all, and another 28% say they think it’ll all depend on factors like vaccination and reopening schedules in various states. Interestingly, many said their projects have been altered to prioritize good ventilation and lots of space for occupants to remain apart from each other, a trend likely to continue at least a few years into the future. 

The report offers five major predictions about the future: more focus on climate change, greater use of mass timber, widespread adoption of prefab and modular construction techniques, higher interest in hybrid construction and higher demand for affordable housing.

Trend 1: Focus on Climate Change

Industry experts say they expect low-to-zero-carbon and green building to be the biggest trend in 2021, driven in large part by industry, government and individual companies’ energy and carbon reduction targets. The market for non-residential green buildings reached about $80 billion in 2020 despite the pandemic, and is expected to reach $103 billion by 2023. Wood products are considered the number one best way to meet these goals, since they require less energy to manufacture and store carbon throughout the useful life of the building or project.

Trend 2: More Mass Timber

Breakthroughs in mass timber technology have made super-tall wooden buildings possible, and this material will continue to rise in adoption and popularity this year. Many mass timber projects are underway in the U.S. right now, and 18% of survey respondents expected to work on at least one.

“Mass timber isn’t simply a green building fad, it’s a resurgence of one of the oldest building materials used by man. The desire to use wood in commercial buildings will increase not only because it’s the more sustainable choice, but because building occupants and tenants will prefer it.” — Andrew Tsay Jacobs, Director of Building Technology Lab, AIA, EIT | Perkins&Will

Trend 3: A Boost in Prefab & Modular

Prefabrication and modular construction cut costs, reduce waste, are much faster to build and rate higher for quality and safety performance than conventional construction. Survey respondents believe that as the building industry adopts tech like 3D modeling tools and CNC machines, these methods will become a lot more common. Wood, of course, remains a popular material for prefab and modular building systems.

“I am now focusing exclusively on prefabricated hybrid residential design and construction solutions that prioritize energy efficiency, low carbon footprints and occupant health and well-being.” — Timber Trends Survey Respondent

Trend 4: Hybrid Construction

We’ll see a lot more wood (especially in the form of mass timber) being integrated into projects that once would have relied primarily on materials like steel and concrete. This “hybrid construction” type of building incorporates several types of structural materials to enhance sustainability and help with budget control. 

Trend 5: An Abundance of Affordable Housing

Even before the pandemic, 30.2 percent of American households spent more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing. We need more affordable housing just about everywhere, and survey respondents believe many affordable multi-family developments are coming this year. Timber plays an important role in affordable housing by improving access to living spaces that are economical, comfortable and sustainable, Timber Trends notes, and adding stories to existing buildings is more feasible with timber because of its lighter weight. 

Curved Wooden House with a Modern Plywood Interior

You don’t see many wooden houses shaped like this, do you? Adopting a silhouette more commonly seen in ultramodern concrete architecture, the appropriately named “Curved House” was built in a short time period on a tight budget, but you’d never know by looking at it.

Architecture firm Daluz Gonzalez came up with a unique design to fit a small plot of land already occupied by the home of the clients’ parents. It had to fit just right into the limited space, but also appeal to the clients’ personal style.

Slotting into the yard, the new house can be approached from the existing house via a concrete pathway, and it’s built on a concrete basement foundation. But the entire house structure is made of wood, including the roof and the interiors. Black stained, narrow vertical siding covers every side of the irregular geometric shape, and the inside is clad in budget-friendly plywood, giving it a minimalist, contemporary yet warm feel.

Even on a more conventionally shaped house, these material choices would be striking. The black vertical siding is a bold choice, exuding drama. Inside, the plywood contrasts with the concrete to accentuate the staggered split-level layout, which is left open as a sky-lit atrium in the middle of the house. 

Though we only get a peek of it, the existing house designed in the ‘80s by architect Max Schentz is unusual, too, with a semicircular shape (albeit more traditional finishing). The greenery and walkway separating the two houses prevents any sort of visual clash, and from above, as you can see in this drawing, the two shapes actually work together to create a larger, dynamic layout that takes full advantage of the irregular lot.

Sweet Simplicity: A Backyard Studio in Rhode Island Made of Native Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine Studio by Estes:Twombly 2

In a lush, quiet corner of Jamestown, Rhode Island, a simple and sweet outbuilding complements the house that stands beside it. With its board and batten siding, a small gabled volume attached to another with a shed roof, the structure looks like a miniature cottage. It’s actually a backyard artist studio, protected from the winds off Narragansett Bay by a circle of mature trees. Estes/Twombly Architects of nearby Newport designed it as an affordable, freestanding getaway that feels private and secluded, but is located just steps from the main house.

Eastern White Pine Studio by Estes:Twombly 4

Eastern White Pine Studio by Estes:Twombly 3

Clients Jane Wright, a painter and printmaker, and Dan Wright, a musician, both wanted spaces to practice their crafts. Local zoning rules require that accessory buildings remain under 700 square feet, so the architects had to find a small layout that would meet the needs of both clients. Plus, the project needed to be affordable.

Eastern White Pine Studio by Estes:Twombly

Eastern White Pine Studio by Estes:Twombly 5

The results just go to show how much of an impact you can make with unfussy materials and color schemes. The smaller wing contains Jane’s studio, while the larger one hosts a sitting room for hosting guests and playing music just outside a recording studio with a sleeping loft on top. That way, the backyard studio triples as a guest house.

The architects chose milled native Eastern White Pine for the siding, alongside other budget-friendly materials, to keep building costs at $160 per square foot.

Lake House in Casco: A Rustic Showcase of Eastern White Pine

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.45.53 PM

Built by M.R. Brewer using lumber from Hancock and featured on Houzz, this showcase of Eastern White Pine is a total dream home. Designed with a rustic mountain style that fits right into the forested setting, the craftsman-style home features Eastern White Pine exterior siding, as well as Eastern White Pine interior paneling, trim and wall coverings. The architects painted the siding graphite gray for a rocky tone that echoes the stone hardscaping outside, with a deep fir green trim accented by hints of a complementary golden brown.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.45.29 PM Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.45.42 PM

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.56.30 PM

Entitled ‘Lake House in Casco,’ the home is a treasure trove of custom millwork showing off the capabilities of Eastern White Pine. Nearly every interior surface, short of the countertops and chimney, is made of wood, with the pine’s characteristic knots adding a dynamic sense of texture to the overall composition of the home.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.46.20 PM Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.46.49 PM Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 3.55.50 PM

Hancock Lumber and M.R. Brewer are both based in Portland, Maine. Check out a full gallery of this extraordinary residence at the builder’s website.

Wood House of the Future: Geometric Beach Cottage

future wood house 7

The idea of what a wooden home looks like is shifting as contemporary architects use this natural, sustainable material in surprising new ways, contrasting its warmth with angular modern silhouettes. This incredible beach cottage by Marc Koehler Architects is a stellar example, using timber inside and out for a look that fits the sandy setting, yet is firmly rooted in the 21st century.

future wood house 3

future wood house 2

Wood continues to come into its own as a building material of the future, remaining one of the most environmentally friendly choices as well as the most beautiful. ‘Dune House,’ located on a northern Dutch island, shows off the capabilities of timber cladding across a faceted facade.

future wood house 6

future wood house 5

The shape of the house was designed to make the most of the plot’s views of the sea and landscape, with large windows along one of the angular surfaces capturing sunlight in the winter for passive heating.

future wood house 4

future wood house 1

Inside, split levels are arranged around a spiraling staircase, with large wooden beams, wide planks and unfinished plywood taking center stage.