Architects and building designers have always favoured the use of timber facades to add organic warmth and linear texture to buildings and homes. Timber lining systems have evolved over the years from their simple forms and restricted range into a level of sophistication whereby contemporary facade designs are now limited only by architectural imagination. 

Five leading global trends in timber facade design

Multi-depth cladding

Typically used in uniform thicknesses in the past, timber cladding is now available in a more diverse range, allowing architects to mix and match cladding depths to generate texture. Using different cladding depths on timber facades also creates a captivating play of light and shadow at various times of the day. When allowed to naturally silver with age, multi-depth cladding will do so unevenly, further adding to the character of the facade.

Varying cladding sizes

Architects are using timber cladding in varying length and width dimensions to juxtapose design elements into a facade. An increasingly popular trend, architects adopt this technique to break up a facade’s profile, with the aesthetic usually driven by the building’s programme and urban fabric.

Black timber cladding

Blackened cladding is back in vogue now and is traditionally achieved using the ancient Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban that preserves wood by charring. Using this process to blacken timber can be time-consuming and labour-intensive and many clients are opting for the simple staining methodology to achieve similar outcomes.

Naturally silvered cladding

Also much sought after for hundreds of years, this aesthetic is back in demand in Australia and involves allowing cladding to naturally silver over time. Two reasons for this renewed interest include readily available images of exquisite examples of this timber facade style from projects around the world; and the minimal maintenance required by this facade look.

High opacity

Painting or staining timber to a high degree of opacity is also an increasingly fashionable trend worldwide. Generally applied to very rough timber surfaces or timber with prominent features such as unique grain patterns, this technique retains the timber’s tactility.

Image: Timber cladding is available in different thicknesses, allowing architects to mix and match cladding depths to generate texture