Abodo Eco Timber: Beautiful, Sustainable & Culturally Significant

Abodo Wood & Team - Charred Timber - Shou Sugi Ban - Lake Waikaremoana

The Lake Waikaremoana Visitor’s Centre is the second Living Building Challenge completed by the Tūhoe Iwi (tribe) in New Zealand’s Central North Island.

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program and sustainable design framework, comprised of seven performance areas: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. Abodo’s sustainably harvested eco-timbers were used extensively in the project, including thermally modified Vulcan timber.

Importantly for the Tūhoe tribe, where the meaning behind the wood also plays its part, the wood fibre used for the project is locally sourced by Abodo from FSC-certified forests in the Kaingaroa region, most of which are on or close to Tūhoe land. Where feasible, the building also uses locally sourced materials and labour.

Opened in December 2016, the Visitor’s Centre includes ticketing for the great walk, café and kitchen, administration, retail and a wānanga (tertiary education) space.

The building is reflective of the lake and the surrounding geomorphology, designed by the talented architects at Tennent Brown, who received achieved a 2017 New Zealand Institute of Architects Branch Award for their work.

Culturally Significant Charred Wood

The centre features charred Vulcan Cladding on the façade, with two large panels at either end of the building. The charred timber panels are symbolic of an important event in the tribe’s history, when the Crown employed its scorched earth policy against Tūhoe in 1867.

Abodo staff, together with around fifteen Tūhoe Park Rangers charred the exterior panels in Abodo Vulcan Cladding. Known as “Pou” these panels flank each side of the building itself. The timber is charred using a traditional Japanese method of preserving wood (‘ShouSugi Ban’) by burning the surface of the timber to a consistent depth of char. The charred finish, shimmering with a black “crocodile skin” look. A series of signage was then charred and installed around the site.

View the charring process video here.

After charring, the boards were sealed with Protector Oil Ebony, to prevent rub off. Charred timber, if produced correctly, can last for generations.

The signage was completed beautifully in bronze by the talented team at Law Creative, and complements the deep char perfectly.Law Creative recently won a Silver Best Awards for the charred signage.

Custom Joinery and Eco Materials

Vulcan timber was also used for feature exterior window and door joinery, finished with Protector Oil – an exterior wood oil made up of natural waxes and plant oils. The joinery was custom made by Arborline Doors.

The exterior of the building is clad in Vulcan weatherboards, with decking in Abodo’s Sand Decking with Pearl finish.

Tuhoe Living Building Project - Lake Waikaremoan - Abood Wood - Visitor's Centre.jpg Tuhoe Living Building - Charred Wood - Lake Waikaremoana - Abodo Wood.jpg


Vulcan cladding/weatherboards:

Protector Oil:

Sand decking:

Charring video:

Thermal modification:

Lake Waikaremoana project:

Tennet Brown:

Law Creative Group:

Arborline Doors:

Back to top