Cedar’s durability, versatility and appearance make it a perfect choice for exterior applications and position it as one of the more popular woods specified by Architects and Designers. While cedar is used for a range applications, both interior and exterior, I thought I’d bring you a closer look specifically at cedar siding. Here are 8 projects that put a nice spin on cedar siding.
1. Japan’s Takano Nursery uses vertical cedar siding to accentuate the building’s geometry
When Suga Architects Office was enlisted to design a new kindergarten in Kobe, Japan, the team rose to the challenge and implemented many facets of biophilic and sustainable design. The result was a beautiful, interesting geometric building featuring a rooftop garden and a green play area. For the exterior, Suga chose red cedar with a spectrum of tones from light khaki to medium brown.
This smart use of cedar siding accomplishes two important goals. First, it draws attention to the nursery’s thoughtful design by wrapping around the curves and emphasizing the angles of the building. Second, it provides many biophilic benefits for the children and faculty. People rate building’s with wood exteriors as homier, warmer and more inviting. All important factors for very young students and anxious parents. It goes to show how material choice can highlight important architectural features and focus on specific occupant concerns when designing contemporary buildings.
2. Cedar siding is fresh and inviting on Llwynderw School’s rounded facade
From Building Design index: Tiers of warm cedar siding give a welcoming feel to this school’s exterior
Llwynderw School in Wales doesn’t look like a typical primary school. The minimalist design is partially encased in what the head architect dubbed a “cedar shell,” a rounded, tiered section clad with cedar shingles. From the siding to the ample greenery surrounding the facility, the school’s cottage-inspired look fosters emotions of comfort and peace in students and teachers. The use of tiered siding is particularly noteworthy, creating visual interest and repetitive pattern without overwhelming the overall architecture.
3. This office building greets occupants with warm cedar siding
Purposive design is becoming one of the most important schools of thought in Architecture & Design. Whether it takes the form of experience design or intentional environment, purposive design is everywhere. The idea is that every part of a built environment should contribute to the creation of an experience for occupants, and thus material selection is highly important. The Cornerstone Office Building in Squamish, British Columbia embraces this philosophy. The exterior with its abundant use of glass, steel and concrete utilizes wood as a counterweight to soften and warm the building’s exterior. Notably, the central section of cedar siding that travels the height of the facade draws the eye up to the oversized cedar lined cantilevers. Cedar is local and thus provides a strong place-based material link to the environment. The cedar siding is the element that transforms and grounds the building exterior making it a unique and lively building in downtown Squamish, BC.
4. Columbia Sportswear maintains curb appeal with vibrant cedar
From Continuing Education: The attractive cedar exterior of this Columbia store in Seattle helps to draw in passersby
Since cedar is a sturdy, beautiful wood, it’s used by some of the biggest companies in the world, including Columbia Sportswear. Columbia’s Seattle store is clad in local Western Red Cedar that tonally complements the blue signage and is a great fit for their brand. Columbia has a rich heritage and global reputation for quality, innovation and performance. Cedar is the perfect building material to represent the brand and appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Placed on a highly visible corner, the cedar-covered store turns heads and makes for a stunning first impression. It’s also one of the most striking stores on the block thanks to the cedar. This is one of my favorite examples of how using wood in a highly urbanized environment can lead to more customers coming in the door.
5. A cedar rain screen elevates the exterior design of the Yale School of Art Gallery
From KieranTimberlake: The Gallery cleverly uses cedar siding to facilitate rainwater drainage
Award-winning firm KieranTimberlake was commissioned to work on the Yale School of Art Gallery, a project that demanded a careful attention to detail. One of the most inspired features is the cedar siding that acts as a rainscreen. According to the architects, “The cedar planks are beveled on the top and bottom edges to force water to drain to the outside, spaced 1/8″ apart for air circulation, allowing the cladding to expand when wet and dry evenly on both sides. This layered wall construction creates a lattice-like scrim at the entry and a pattern of parted planes at the corners of the building.”
This intersection of form and function demonstrates the flexibility that cedar can bring to a commercial project. It also proves that siding can be just as innovative as any other aspect of architecture. It’s always refreshing to see materials and elements being used in unconventional ways that help to further the art of design.
6. Granero Office Building offers another example of an innovative cedar rain screen
From Coates Design: Rich cedar siding works with lush plant life to create a biophilic environment
The use of cedar siding as a rain screen is gaining traction, and Granero Office Building on Washington’s Bainbridge Island is another great use case. Formerly a dilapidated barn, this small office is extremely eye-catching due to the cedar rain screen that covers the facade. The multi-toned wood reflects the verdant landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, anchoring the design and providing local context. It’s interesting to note that while both Granero Office Building and the Yale School of Art Gallery utilize cedar rain screens, they fulfill different aesthetic goals. The Gallery’s cedar screen is designed to reflect the gallery’s creative sensibility and adds a touch of biophilia to the building, while Granero’s connection to its immediate environment makes it feel organic and authentic.
7. Haywire’s striking cedar entrance makes a design statement
From TerraMai: Haywire uses reclaimed cedar siding for its branded entryway
As you’ve seen in many of these examples, many companies opt to create an attention-grabbing facade that immediately establishes their branding. New York-based marketing agency Haywire does just this with a cedar entryway that’s instantly noticeable. TerraMai’s reclaimed Western Red Cedar Siding is at work here, and it was the perfect match for Haywire’s brand. The cedar’s unique beauty and boldness echo Haywire’s ethos of commitment and success, and the logo emblazoned across the front completes the design.
8. Cedar siding can unify old and new structures
From KieranTimberlake: This middle school uses cedar siding to create visual unity
Additions to any built environment can sometimes result in a lack of unity throughout. KieranTimberlake found a way around this for Sidwell Friends Middle School by using cedar siding on the school’s extensions. This helps the newer parts of the school appear more natural and organic. This is a truly unique method of using cedar siding to accomplish a specific architectural purpose. It expands on the idea that a building should be a holistic experience for every occupant, and it’s executed brilliantly here.
Today’s architects and designers are leveraging cedar siding in ways that enhance projects and create innovation in the industry. It’s enlightening to look over these projects to see how architects and designers continue to find new and unique ways to integrate known, resilient and trustworthy materials into their work.
If you’re considering cedar for your next project, take a look at reclaimed Western Red Cedar siding. TerraMai’s Western Red Cedar is reclaimed from Vancouver Island, consisting of standing dead trees and found logs abandoned from forestry practices. Typically, this rejected wood is chipped into mulch. TerraMai works with partners to reclaim this discarded wood to transform it into truly useful and beautiful products. Naturally resistant to rot and insects, and a natural thermal insulator, cedar is a wonderful wood for commercial siding.