East Oxford Yakisugi

This project expands a Victorian semi-detached house to the side and rear to provide open-plan accommodation, including a new kitchen and dining area, cloakroom and generous bathroom.

The design explores the juxtaposition of traditional Japanese charred timber cladding or yakisugi, against the backdrop of a brick Victorian terrace. An ancient Japanese tradition, “yaki” translates to “burnt”, while “sugi”, refers to the Japanese cedar tree. Yakisugi is traditionally made from Japanese cedar due to its relative lightness and softness, and structural stability. The characteristics of the timber promote ideal surface charring. Additionally cedar tends to be relatively resin-free, is naturally durable and grows very straight. The natural beauty of its grain is unsurpassed, making it ideal for use as external or internal finish, whether charred or not.

Charred wood is extremely durable, adding to the longevity of the renovation. The char layer acts as a protective barrier, making the wood more durable and extending its lifespan.

Charring wood can enhance its resistance to decay, insects, and other forms of deterioration. Charred wood is known for its increased resistance to weather elements such as rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. This can contribute to the longevity of the cladding material and reduce the need for frequent maintenance.

The char layer can provide some level of insulation, helping to regulate temperature within the building. While not a substitute for additional insulation materials, it can contribute to the overall energy efficiency.

Client: Private client
Project Type: House extension and remodel
Location: East Oxford
Status: Tender stage