Cardrona Valley Project Highlights Sustainable Timber Alternative

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A New Zealand eco-timber company has partnered with an award-winning Arrowtown architectural firm to make a statement in Cardrona Valley.

A six-million-dollar development has been announced by Abodo Wood to showcase how local alternatives for imported old-growth cedar can withstand Central Otago’s harsh alpine climate.

The development, in collaboration with Assembly Architects of Arrowtown, includes a 102-square-metre show home and seven stand-alone visitor accommodation chalets.

It will be Abodo’s first South Island development, with construction of the show home expected to begin in January 2019.

Abodo launched in New Zealand 16 years ago to offer an alternative to destroying threatened old-growth forests around the world.

The company sources its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) timbers, which will be used throughout the Cardrona Valley project, from New Zealand plantation forests. Crafted from thermally modifying timbers, Abodo transforms radiata pine using heat and steam, avoiding toxic chemicals, to double its stability.

Director Daniel Gudsell says it is exciting to be a part of Cardrona’s future.

“Our modified timber is designed to suit alpine conditions so when we saw the land for sale it was a no-brainer to invest,” he says. “The thermal modifying process was developed in Finland more than 20 years ago and our plan is to create a showcase development to prove how the materials weather and perform in the ‘hot one day, cold the next’ environment.”

“Ninety-five percent of New Zealand plantations are pine and that’s why Western red cedar is the largest single species we import, as it’s a durable building material. But, typically it comes from ancient forests. By modifying pine, we can best utilise tree species grown on home soil and create beautiful natural structures that are safe, sustainable and cared for, like the forests they come from.”

Daniel says the exterior timber of the Cardrona buildings will be treated with a silicate wood coating to help the structure blend in with the historic surroundings of the village as it weathers.

“We’re hoping the development helps developers, builders and home owners visualise the different uses of our Vulcan Cladding product and how it weathers in local conditions.”

Focus on natural materials

With a shared love for natural materials, Assembly Architects has specified Abodo’s suite of products on several residential projects, and most recently a multi-story hotel in Wanaka.

“It’s great to see value added to New Zealand pine,” says director Justin Wright. “There are many factors we consider when selecting materials including look and feel, durability, maintenance, environmental credentials, compliance and cost. Abodo’s products tick the boxes for the majority of these.”

“They offer a fantastic sample kit which enables our clients to combine ‘real’ samples with the renders on screen and visualisation through our interactive virtual reality experience.”

Justin says the weathered Abodo product is an interesting one.

“It has been fun to explore the different uses and forms of the natural cladding for the show home with the knowledge that the exposed structure will adapt into the natural surroundings within six months.”

“There’s lots of flexibility with the range of materials on offer. We’re currently designing an Arrowtown home with Adobo’s Sioo:x wood coating to achieve an aged look, but with protective qualities,” he says. “We’ve also recently completed a Wanaka home with charred wood cladding which is an ancient Japanese technique. This offered our client a rustic and textured alternative to black stained timber which really stands out against the Central Otago backdrop.”

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