This Timber Clad Shelter Demonstrates the Potential of Locally Sourced Materials | Invisible Studio

Timber Clad Shelter Demonstrates

In collaboration with timber structure specialists Xylotek, the UK-based studio Invisible Studio has designed an organically shaped community shelter at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire, England. Alongside the local community groups and Forestry England volunteers and staff, the architectural studio has designed and built the installation which is entirely made from felled oak. Know more about the project on SURFACES REPORTER (SR).


The project has been conceived, designed and constructed with the aim to demonstrate the mindful benefits of nature, co-creation and co-existence. The complex installation sits in its woodland setting. The shelter has been designed out of trees that were due to be extracted from Westonbirt’s own collection which has been a part of its routine woodland management cycle. This has allowed reducing the carbon footprint of the project by further exhibiting the wonders that can be achieved by using locally grown and sourced timber.

Encompassing the high-level engagement from the outset with the help of sketched, small models, digital scanning, large-scale mock-ups and onsite fabrications, the project involved the entire community at its every stage of construction where each varying skill sets of each participant had been put to use. The shelter also provided opportunities for participants to join in on a range of traditional green timber carpentry techniques such as steam bending, laminating and shingle making to build the unusual structure.

Conceived in a distinct paraboloid shape, the shelter aims at offering protection from external elements and also offers important views through to the surrounding woodland. With an aesthetical design that extends ad hoc, the shelter has been designed to allow inclusive design and a non-prescriptive space for groups who will use it.

Project details

Architect: Invisible Studio

Contractor: Xylotek

Client: Forestry Commission, Westonbirt Arboretum

Image credits: Jim Stephenson


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