The site was steep and access somewhat limited on the curved, narrow suburban street – ‘but that’s our normal’, David says. ‘When we realised what we were dealing with, the reaches involved and the time period we were working within, we decided to install a tower crane.’ Once the CLT panels were delivered to site, they were craned into position. ‘I think the biggest panel was about nine metres long and weighed 2.7 tonnes. It was pretty easy once we got the hang of it.’
The Seed House is at once imposing and reticent. Despite their impressive scale, the glass-fronted CLT pods, clad in black aluminium and topped with green roofs, sit harmoniously within their bushland surrounds. Inside, the 658-square metre home is a bold celebration of the nexus between the built form and the materials used: pale swathes of natural stone (including sandstone collected onsite) and native timbers (Huon Pine, Radiata Pine, as well as Celery Top Pine and Blackwood salvaged from the bottom of Tasmania’s hydro lakes) are punctuated by black steel.
The vast, timber-lined rooms follow the angle of the pods – narrower at the rear and opening out to take in the views of Sugarloaf Bay via floor-to-ceiling, flush-mounted glazing – with raked ceilings soaring overhead. Again, the apparent visual simplicity of the interiors is the result of complex detailing and technically demanding joinery.
‘The walls are all on an angle and the ceilings are on an angle so we’ve got a compound mitre cut on all the junctions,’ David says. ‘In two of the pods, we had to work out well in advance what width the boards had to be so that when the floorboard hit the wall board, which is on an angle as well, and then hit the ceiling board, all the edges lined up.’