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Dib dib dib: in the heart of Denmark's national forest, Chris Thurlbourne provides a platform for outdoor pursuits.

Peter Cook once described Chris Thurlbourne's approach to construction as one that is based on boy-scout technology; lashing together simple, affordable and traditional techniques to create an innovative contemporary architecture. In hearty boy-scout style, this project relied on the spirit of camaraderie and collaboration, on land donated by the state-owned forestry commission. The architect, who spends the majority of his time teaching at the school of architecture in Aarhus, worked well beyond the call of duty: as did the master carpenter Frank Hansen. The result being a hand-made, bespoke building of remarkable quality, for an equally remarkable cost; completed for less than [pounds sterling]600/sqm.

On this remote forested site in Sejs, north Denmark, Thurlbourne lifted the building off the ground to allow visitors to register the fall of the existing ground. Reminiscent of a treehouse when viewed through the forest from the road, timber was the obvious material of choice. Cheaper, lighter and easier to repair than alternative choices, larch and timber shingles were used as cladding, to cloak an impressive stilted X-frame and ladder beam structure.

Set against a tree belt, above a gentle gradient, the building serves as an alternative platform to that of Playstation or television, providing a robust base for outdoor pursuits. A sheltered passageway leads from the ramp and stair to provide an external route through the building, linking the glazed kitchen to the left with the principal assembly hall to the right. Flanking the hall is a curved screen wall that contains a boot room, where dirty clothes can be stored before the troops enter the activity space. Upon leaving the outside world behind, the discovery of the assembly hall reveals a lofty double-height volume with its own canopy; articulated by a mezzanine and a trio of glazed ladder beams that rise to catch light through the three diminishing mono-pitches; dib dib dib.

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Providing 340sqm for less that [pounds sterling]200 000, this building is a fine example of how to specify appropriate materials and techniques. On an isolated site, the construction sequence ensured that poor conditions would not be too disruptive, quickly raising the roof in camp-craft style to provide shelter during the six month construction period: bob-a-job done.

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COPYRIGHT 2006 EMAP Architecture
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
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Author:Gregory, Rob
Publication:The Architectural Review
Geographic Code:4EUDE
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:384
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