UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield architectural part-one graduate, Maria Sebastian, has been selected to receive a grant from Timber Development UK (TDUK) that has allowed her to attend the 25th running of Woodland Heritage’s ever-popular Woodland to Workshop (W2W) course this autumn.

The grant was offered by TDUK (the new entity formed from the merger of Timber Trade Federation and TRADA), as part of the support it was offering to award winning architectural practice, Studio Bark’s ‘No Building as Usual’ (NBAU) project that has created a new, timber home in Herefordshire this summer. 

This two-bed home has been constructed using Studio Bark’s modular, low embodied energy, low impact construction system called U-Build, with the work carried out at a live build summer school for students and practitioners from across the building sector of whom, Maria was one.

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Commenting on her grant award, Maria said: “I learned so much about working with timber when building ‘Nest House’; it has opened my eyes to the possibilities that timber offers in construction projects. Getting the chance to attend the Woodland to Workshop course at Whitney Sawmills will enable me to understand much more about the process of growing and harvesting trees that provide the timber that will increasingly be needed for building in the future. I’ll be fascinated to see UK-grown Douglas fir logs in the round, having used so much of this lovely timber from the mill whilst adding the cladding and decking to ‘Nest House’.”

TDUK’s university development manager Tabitha Binding added: “I’m excited about offering this chance to someone who has the potential in the future to be specifying home grown timber in her projects. As an alumnus of W2W myself, I know that the course content will give Maria a greater understanding of timber species, growing and managing trees for timber production, the sales measurement, milling, drying, and marketing as well as species selection for products, arming her with extra knowledge to help her choose the right UK timber for the right jobs in the future.”

For Studio Bark, Wilf Meynell said: “Studio Bark is passionate about teaching sustainable construction, whilst also promoting and celebrating diversity in the construction sector. We have been running live build projects with students since 2012. Our live builds have grown in scale and environmental ambition, with Box House, a more recent project, being filmed and broadcast as part of Channel 4’s Grand Designs: The Street. We are on the lookout for another project for 2022 that can showcase the role UK-grown timber can have in building a better future and would welcome suitable approaches.”