White Heather House: a natural space for hope
White Heather House, part of the Bradbury accommodation and training centre run by Essex-based charity HARP, was created to address the needs of homeless women in a safe and natural environment.
The vision of SKArchitects was to celebrate wood as a natural material, melding the mature trees on the boundary of the space with a timber building, sustainable in terms of fabric, facade and energy use.
Timber Trade Federation member Brooks Brothers discussed materials with the architects, and Canadian Western Red Cedar was chosen over other materials such as Larch and ThermoWood.
Canadian Western Red Cedar takes longer to grow than its British-grown counterpart and has a finer grain. Also, the first set of branches occur higher on the tree, thus providing longer lengths in ‘Clears’ – clear of any natural defects. Brooks Brothers machined the tongue-and-groove cladding profile to order at its nearby Danbury facility.
Canadian Western Red Cedar has good insulation properties, adding to the high level of internal insulation in the building. It is also dimensionally stable, making it well-suited to external cladding.
The building structure was created using off-site pre-fabricated timber, which consequently minimised site waste. With structure, internal joinery and cladding all being of timber, the accommodation effectively became a carbon sink, CO2 remaining stored within the wood fibre.
Brooks Brothers are a Timber Trade Federation Responsible Purchaser, procuring legally-harvested, sustainably-grown hardwoods and softwoods from across the globe.
Processes are monitored through the TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy (RPP) due diligence system, to which all Federation members adhere. Brooks Brothers also have a five-year environmental strategy, regularly reviewed and renewed, and publicly publish their certified sourcing performance data.