For the past few months we’ve been working on a massive project in Sandwich, Kent, that would daunt a lot of timber framers – in fact, this is the most complicated frame we’ve ever made.

The client wanted a nine bay barn/garage that wrapped around an oval-shaped, internal courtyard, with the external walls forming a rectangle. The cars enter the structure from within the courtyard through one of the nine bays, and each bay has a set of bespoke garage doors.

The fact the inner shape is a dissected oval (or ‘ellipse’) presented constant problems. Since there is little repetition, most of the timbers are unique, and so the frame design and fabrication time was dramatically increased and very complex.

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The main truss frames are arranged radially, dividing up the generous bays with a unique double pitch design.

The swept roof echoes the shape of the oval courtyard, and to do this the inner pitches of the trusses are connected with curved shaped purlins (we created a convex and concave compound curve on two faces of each purlin). The purlin to principle rafter joint was a compound cut joint to accommodate these dissecting angles.

The rafters that form the swept roof are fixed at the apex onto a curved glu-lam ridge beam. These were made in the workshop, laminating 8 sections of wood together into a unique shape depending on its position in the roof. The rear pitches of the trusses are designed to form a linear roof-line, framing the inner swept roof. Each truss is unique within the frame ranging from just over six meters long to nine meters long.

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So far the project has taken 3 month of design work and 3 months of carpentry and frame-raising.

The garage is in the grounds, beside the house and is part of a larger scheme that includes a swimming pool, changing rooms, massage room, gym and tennis court. The garage will include a games room, wine cellar and ground-keepers store.

The second phase of the project will be to complete the oval next year with an oak orangery.