Blue Mountains CLT Studio


2019 Winner Small Budget – National Timber Design Awards

2019 Finalist Class 1 – New Building Residential, National Timber Design Awards

2019 Finalist Sustainable Building Awards – Prefabrication and Modular

2020 Shortlisted NSW Architecture Awards Small Projects


This little Blue Mountains CLT Studio has had a lot of love. It sits there quietly looking over the Kanimbla Valley looking like it has just landed but is the culmination of many dedicated hours working on an approach to affordable housing using pre-fabricated cross laminated timber construction.

Designed to be versatile, this little building contains a mezzanine level, a living level with kitchen, bathroom, laundry and an office on the lower ground level with its own bathroom. The aim was not to create a radical building but one that speaks to domestic comfort and well being. It¬†will be an artist’s studio providing a much needed teaching and painting space.

Blackheath is an historic suburb that sits at the highest point of the Blue Mountains with valleys and wilderness to either side. Older single-storey houses dominate the streetscape, with modest weatherboard and brick cottages from throughout the twentieth century. Many have gabled roofs like our client’s house, although their neighbour has a higher pitch and a second-storey extension. Sitting between these two houses, Blue Mountains CLT Studio is designed to mediate the roof forms, improving the privacy for the clients and maintaining the suburban scale.

Clad in hard wood timber the building recedes into its semi rural environment and will grey with age. Like Dr Who’s ‘Tardis’, it seems to expand when entering the space. Light pours down through an operable opening at the peak of the building, flooding the timber clad interior in a wash of light. The rear of the studio faces west towards the Kanimbla Valley and consequently receives strong afternoon sun and westerly winds off the range. Large double-glazed windows with thermally broken frames provide insulation while taking advantage of the view, and eaves and external blinds provide protection from the summer sun.

The end result is this very cute, little, unassuming building that is a delight both inside and out.


Photography: Luke Butterly