Author: Chris Philpot
If you are shopping in Sydney's Redfern you may be interested to stop by at The Martian Embassy to discover exactly why it has won the Timber Design Awards this year. The creative writing centre references Moby Dick, a space rocket and a time tunnel. It uses the curvy potential of plywood to take you on an intergalactic journey. In addition to the wood, the Martian Embassy has actual pictures of the Martian ambassador meeting Obama, Oprah, and the Queen, and the gift shop sells tins of gravity and deluxe Martian capes.
Other awards went to Zen House, made from recycled timber - a 1970s existing beach home that was dismantled and salvaged for assembly in the new building; Glenworth Valley House built from certified local Red Ironbark; and Candlebark School Library, an earth-covered library built into the side of a hill in Victoria's Macedon Ranges.
Through the Timber Design Awards architects, designers, engineers and other building professionals get an opportunity to show off wood as the only truly renewable, sustainable building material.
Many of the entries included engineered wood products that store vast amounts of carbon. It is buildings such as these that will help Australia move towards a low carbon economy.