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Best use of timber 2013 shortlist – Sugarhouse Close

Name of building
Sugarhouse Close
Date Completed
August 2012
Building type
Residential – Student Acommodation
Sugarhouse Close, Edinburgh
Oberlanders Architects
Corporate Residential Management Ltd
Main contractor

Watkin Jones


The Project

Providing accommodation for up to 300 students Sugarhouse Close is embedded within the Edinburgh World Heritage site in the old town. The northern half of the site, steeped in the medieval history of the Royal Mile, appropriates the adjacent architectural language, the low rise units have a patinated mottled red brick masonry base course overhung by timber cladding on upper stories, topped with pitched slate roofs.

The project benefits from a number of sustainable initiatives including: the re-use of slate and stone; the refurbishment of historic buildings; the promotion of biodiversity with the introduction of trees and a green roof; and the implementation of a central communal heating system.

Use of Timber

The overhanging timber cladding is made of Finnforest, Thermowood, kiln dried timber selected by for its low maintenance requirements. The board on board configuration is designed to accentuate the verticals through the play of shadows created by the depth of the gaps. A cill where the timber projects was discounted in order to keep a clean simple bottom edge detail, giving a castellated shadow.

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Why Your Material Choice Matters

As designers, we play a critical role in the material choice used in construction projects. These choices affect more than just the performance of a

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