Account Navigation

Account Navigation

Currency - All prices are in AUD

Currency - All prices are in AUD

Charred beauty: Shou sugi ban

Posted by on

Japanese architecture has long been revered for its use of natural materials and the expert craftsmanship that brings out their natural characteristics and beauty. Charred timber, produced through a centuries-old Japanese technique called shou sugi ban, has become increasingly popular with architects and designers outside of Japan, admired and appreciated for its beautifully textured, silver-ebony finish.


Garth House by Ola Studio

Shou sugi ban originated as a way to protect fencing and façades of rural homes and storehouses against fire. By torching the timber, it creates a charcoal layer that is not only fireproof, but it repels water, resists rot and insects and extends the lifetime of the timber. The traditional method saw three planks tied into a triangular tube and the interior lit on fire before being cooled with water. The timber was then cleaned and finished with natural oil, producing a scorched charcoal black colour with a silvery finish.


Platform House by studioplusthree

Today, the same effect is achieved using a propane torch or a kiln for large production. Used on both the inside and outside of a home, charred timber is low maintenance and continues to patina as it naturally weathers, becoming even more beautiful with time.


Pleated House by Megowan Architectural

Megowan Architectural used charred timber on Pleated House as a nod to the weatherboard cladding of the existing dwelling. Wanting to embed the extension in its setting, Christopher Megowan selected materials that would patina – the charred cypress cladding being manually burnt, and the silvertop ash decking silvering with age.


Pleated House by Megowan Architectural

Pleated House is home to a builder/plumber and interior stylist, and the client personally charred and oiled the shiplap cypress in the backyard. The torched timber cladding differentiates the new elements of the build, both relating to and contrasting with the existing weatherboard cladding. Inside, the kitchen has dark, grooved joinery to complement the charred cypress, and a crisp white interior offers a sharp contrast to the rich colour and tactility of both.

For more information, read about Pleated House here.


Image credits

Charred Timber Images sourced from Habitus Living

Pleated House sourced from Arch Daily