Building with timber is an Australian tradition. Architect Jesse Judd honored this heritage, but selected recycled or plantation timbers instead of nonrenewable hardwoods from old-growth forests. The house’s interior floors and walls are clad in rotary-cut hoop pine plywood—thin sheets of plantation timber that the builder could bend to fit the curve of the steel portal frames.
Hoop pine is a native Australian timber that’s being planted and harvested as a sustainable building material. It’s very versatile, serving as a durable floor surface as well as a veneer for walls and kitchen joinery. Other joinery elements in the house feature eco-friendly medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which is made from plantation-grown radiata pine, recycled paper, bamboo, and scrap wood.
The deck required a lot of timber, too. Judd used reclaimed turpentine timber from the demolished piers of the old Woolloomooloo Wharf in Sydney. Under the hot Australian sun, the rough-sawn planks have weathered to a soft gray, and after years partially submerged in the blue waters of Sydney Harbor individual planks have warped and swelled to some degree. Judd says it will take a while to settle—and he’s quite happy to wait.