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West Beach Townhouses

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This compact townhouse project represents a dextrous and various use of many timber products. Combined with the extensive with the extensive use of timber external cladding to the main body of the building, the metal clad corner element is further wrapped in continuous laminated cypress pergola beams. The structure provides the base for climbing plants to weave their way up and over the adjoining roof decks for each apartment. Another unique feature is the use of timber slatted battens to the garage doors that combine with backlit coloured panels to a lantern like effect by night and day.

Overall, the use of timber has given the townhouses a natural life and vigour both to internal living areas and external expressive elements.

Architect: Grant Amon Architects P/L

Fabricator: Timber Engineered Structures (Pergola)

Builder: GL Building and Construction P/L


The glulam beams used in the main pergola structure were specially formed in this unique shape. A total of 10 beams have been used, they run vertically up a facade wall, curve and continue over the two roof deck areas, being trimmed on an angle as they terminate over the decks. The complete support structure for the pergola is also glulam, double beams and posts with attention to detail of all connections and appearance. The pergola shape overall is intended to become a ‘green wall’ with climbing plants used and a mesh screen infill between the beams to facilitate a ‘random’ growth. The proposal not only gives a fantastic appearance and green wall to the public passing by, but will also provide, in due course, a shaded, leafy roof top refuge for the occupants of the townhouses.

To enable the design intent to be realised this was really the only option that suited the design. The pergola needed to be a continuous piece that could be curved as well as straight. It was also used to provide a timber relief element against the metal facade and considered the best solution to the concept of a pergola structure encasing the building as a form of living skin.

We preferred to use a timber cladding system that expresses the natural warmth of timber, is light weight and easy to apply. The cladding system also provided a material differentiation from the other materials used in the project (metal colourbond and recycled bricks).

The solid timber battens were used as a lightweight spaced batten system over custom made fold away sectional garage doors. The doors have coloured frosted acrylic panels fitted from behind that combined with the battens form a lantern like effect from within the garage during the day and externally to the street when backlit at night.

Internally, selected timbers have been used in the joinery elements, stairs treads, wall panels, flooring and cladding to provide a warm texture and colour to compliment the interior material palette.

We have chosen Big River timbers flooring system as an economical choice of flooring, using a 4mm layer of spotted gum and the remaining an engineered plywood layers. This still gives the full effect of a solid spotted gum floor but using less spotted gum timber. The prefinished boards also save time and money in installation and maintain durability.

In the bathrooms, a cedar batten was preferred for it robustness in dealing with a moist environment as well as the smell, texture and colour of cedar in a bathroom. The battens have also been hand selected and installed to match in horizontal lines, a beautiful job by the builder.

Timber veneers have been used for the kitchen joinery cupboards, buffet and also for the timber wall panels at the base of the stairs and internal windows. The timber veneer was used to create a solid, consistent and beautifully grained block of material for the pantry fridge element of the kitchen and stair area whilst the darker recon veneers again provided a timber grain and texture however in a more subtle background finish.

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