Kebony brings historic 19th Century farmhouse into the modern era
ST. CLAIR, MICHIGAN, April 18, 2016 – Inspired by the original 19th Century design, a rundown farmhouse on the east side of the River Glomma - Norway’s longest and largest river - has been brought into the 21st Century by LINK architects.
The Lersch family bought the dilapidated farmhouse shortly after the millennium and were keen to preserve the historic building, intending to restore one of the last historic farmsteads, prominent in the area in the early 1900s. They sought to develop an annex to extend the existing residential property and redevelop the original triangular-roofed farmhouse building. Some sections needed to be demolished, other parts required significant attention.
The design was heavily influenced by traditional gable-roofed farmhouses with the new-build intending to modernize the antiquated aesthetic in a minimalistic manner. The beautiful setting was also paramount to the design and inspired the openness of the building’s sides facing the old garden. Glass and aluminium have been used extensively throughout. Both the roof and façade of the extension are clad with Kebony, chosen by the architects as it helped maintain the traditional style of the original farmhouse. Initially Kebony cladding has a deep brown colour - similar to that of tropical hardwoods - but when exposed to light and weathering over time the color of the wood softens to adopt a delicate silver-grey patina, perfectly in keeping with the light tones of the wood panelling on the inner walls.
The wooden cladding gives the barn its striking external appearance and creates a natural look and feel, with an additional benefit of integrating sustainability into the build. The patented Kebony technology is a unique process that modifies sustainably sourced wood species with furfuryl alcohol, a liquid produced from agricultural crop waste. With the addition of heat the furfuryl polymer is permanently grafted into the wood cell wall, resulting in greatly improved durability and dimensional stability; making the wood resistant to biological decay and harsh weather conditions, without the need for expensive and environmentally-damaging treatments.
To further the eco-friendly credentials of the build, the ground floor is made of recycled concrete and houses an intricate heating mechanism wherein pipes embedded in the floor are supplied with hot water from a heat exchanger connected to a ground well. This utilizes the constant subterranean temperature of the earth to heat the building in winter and dissipate heat when needed in the summer. Architectural innovations continue to the downpipes and gutters. These are cleverly concealed behind the cladding to ensure that water is drained away behind the façade while snow sliding from the roof far is directed away from the gutter. This inventive solution ensures the water drainage is kept free of ice and doesn’t freeze during the winter months, preserving the beauty of the exterior.
“This project has been fascinating to work on with the traditional Scandinavian design style interwoven with modern architectural element,” said Martin Ebert, LINK’s lead architect on the project. “The Kebony cladding is a really exciting way to keep traditional architecture alive without the negative environmental impact associated with hardwood deforestation.”
“The farmhouse is a stunning project that we are delighted to be a part of, said Mette Valen, Team Leader Norway at Kebony. “Martin and his team have created a really distinctive style, combining both function and beauty to create a sustainable, picturesque family home.”
Photos © Hundven-Clements Photography
Twitter: @KebonyWood @LINKarkitektur
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* LINK arkitektur
LINK arkitektur is one of the leading architect offices in Scandinavia, in terms of turnover, the number of employees and the number of projects completed annually. As a business model and philosophy, LINK has chosen to let 14 offices with approximately 350 employees in Norway, Sweden and Denmark create their own culture and specialist fields.
* Kebony Technology
The Kebony technology is a patented process which enhances the properties of non-durable wood species to give them similar characteristics to the best performing woods. Through a sustainable process wood species such as pines and some non-durable hardwoods are impregnated with a bio-based liquid derived from agricultural crop waste. With the addition of heat, the furfuryl polymer is permanently grafted into the wood cell wall, resulting in greatly improved durability and dimensional stability.
Kebony is suitable for both internal and external applications that demand high performance and great aesthetics including: decking, flooring, cladding, roofing, windows, and furniture. Over time Kebony acquires its characteristic silver-grey patina when exposed to sun and rain, whilst not losing its performance characteristics. With improved durability and dimensional stability Kebony is becoming increasingly the choice of leading architects and developers enabling them to use wood in projects without causing environmental degradation. Kebony has been used internationally in projects from commercial, public, residential and marine, for example Hunter’s Point in New York, the Mary Rose museum and both residential and commercial buildings on the UK’s seafront. A recent study by Norwegian environmental consulting firm Bergfald & Co. demonstrated that Kebony has a substantially lower carbon footprint than its tropical hardwood equivalents.