The Seed House wins at 2019 Australian Timber Design Awards

A spectacular exercise in cross laminated timber (CLT) and stone for the home of James Fitzpatrick, of fitzpatrick+partners in Sydney’s Castlecrag, was the overall winner of the prestigious Australian Timber Design Awards (ATDA) held in Melbourne.

Already the subject of considerable acclaim, The Seed House is an exemplary project that combines sensitivity of the site and awareness of materials with an attention to detail that reflects the passions of the architect and owner, James Fitzpatrick. In an earlier interview with WoodSolutions, James said that he could often be found late at night, drawing the threads on bolted connections. The Seed House is the result of such a relentless focus on achieving as close to perfection as is humanly possible.

James describes The Seed House: “Utilising the latest technologies in engineered timber construction, this healthy home imbues a sense of warmth and comfort. Every bracket and screw is used to inform the overall aesthetic of the home, with materials selected so to develop a patina of use and character with time. The normal is sculptured to become the beautiful. Its experimentation in construction and engineering has supported the architectural vision. It is a forever home, yet it is home to a young family. It will adapt and change as they do, forever.”

Constructed primarily from structural cross-laminated timber panels, glulam columns and finished with lining boards, The Seed House wraps the occupants in timber. Adding to this, the joinery and furniture are all made from timbers sourced from the bottom of the hydro lakes of Tasmania.

Species used include celery top pine, huon pine, radiata pine and blackwood. Together they form a backdrop to the owner’s collection of Wegner and Aalto furniture pieces, Danish ceramics and modern art.

The apparent simplicity of the stacked pod design belies the complex geometries, large spans and cantilevers that required hundreds of hours of computer analysis to create the optimum structural and aesthetic solution which defines the interior forms and finishes. This process led to the development of new detailing and fixing systems to address the unique Australian environmental and construction industry requirements.

The Seed House is a worthy winner in an impressively strong field in the 2019 awards. The breadth and depth of the entries in the 20th year of the awards reflect the increasing popularity of wood and wood products in the built environment. A trend that is expected to increase as more mid-rise residential and other commercial projects realise the significant financial, operational and environmental benefits of using timber construction systems.

“I would like to congratulate all the entrants and winners on their excellent work,” said Eileen Newbury, WoodSolutions Program Manager and National Marketing and Communications Manager for Forest and Wood Products Australia, the industry services company that resources WoodSolutions, the Platinum sponsor of the event.

Now in their 20th year, the awards promote and encourage outstanding timber design. They are open to builders, designers, architects, engineers and landscapers: to anyone involved in the design or building of structures that feature timber. A Rising Star Award is available to students and entrants aged 35 or under.

See the full list of winners online at

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