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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Wurl Wood Redux in Robertstown, Georgia by Robert M. Cain, Architect, LEED AP

 
April 24th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Robert M. Cain, Architect, LEED AP

Wurl Wood was the name of the furniture building and restoration shop formerly occupying a 1940’s concrete block and wood framed elementary school. The building site, located in Robertstown Georgia, sits on the top of a small mount with panoramic views of the surrounding stunningly beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest and north Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Wurl Wood was a furniture production, restoration and repair shop owned and operated by the owner’s father-in-law. Since Wurl Wood ceased production the building has gradually decomposed to the point where the concrete slabs, concrete block walls and their foundations are the only stable building components remaining.

The son-in-law, steeped in the history of the building and surrounding area, has retained much of the mill-working equipment and will, using the remaining building components, construct a new private residence, a smaller woodworking shop and an artist’s studio for his and the family’s use.

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Dramatic clear spans are achieved by using structural insulated panels (SIPs) faced on the interior with birch plywood. Roof overhangs are designed to passively shelter glazing during the summer allowing occupants to open garage type glazed panels and operable windows rather than employ the building’s air conditioning systems.

Clerestories trace the entire perimeter of the building and will be glazed with a clear insulating polycarbonate plastic product. Interior walls are opaque only to the bottom of the clerestory. Demising between spaces at the clerestory level occurs only where necessary for privacy and is achieved by glazed panels thus allowing light from the clerestories to filter into every room and from all spaces enhance the feeling of a soaring floating roof plane.

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Existing concrete block cavities will be filled with foam insulation. The interior and exterior existing concrete block will be lightly sandblasted to remove paint and expose the block’s aggregate, then sealed with an invisible clear-drying, water-based silicone emulsion. The existing concrete slabs will be retained, stained and sealed in a manner reinforcing the patina the floors have achieved through years of use.

An open courtyard defined by the walls of the original elementary school links the shop and the living quarters. A new wood deck to the rear of the courtyard faces an especially beautiful view of the Unicoi Valley.

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