Shou sugi ban: what it is & why a Perth architect is using it

24 Jul 2018

Perth architect Humphrey Homes shou sugi ban home

Shou sugi ban is a Japanese technique which roughly translates to "burnt cedar wood" and one Perth architect and builder is bringing the ancient practice to Perth.

The practice preserves and beautifies timber by using fire to char the surface of wood, rendering it black, or shades of black, depending on how much fire is applied.

Owner/Director of Perth architect and building company, Dean Humphrey of Humphrey Homes said shou sugi ban carried many benefits.

"Aesthetically shou sugi ban is quite striking and it offers something really different in Perth's custom home building market.

"Shou sugi ban offers a textural depth to timber and can be used both indoors and out meaning the architecture and the interior design of a living space can equally benefit.

"The flames char the surface of the wood and in doing so actually add to its longevity, making it more durable and less prone to insects.

“The level and depth of char is entirely up to you, if you want a heavier and darker finish, just apply more flame.  It's perfectly unique, just like our clients building custom homes in Perth.

"Once the desired colour and texture is achieved, it can be left raw or simply oil it to seal and protect the unique finish," Dean Humphrey said.

While it is relatively new to Perth architects, the technique has been used in Japan for centuries.

The pagoda on the Horyuji Temple was built using shou sugi ban and is widely considered to be the oldest wooden building in the world, dating back to 711 AD.

Humphrey Homes is using the technique on a Mosman Park home currently under construction.

"We are applying shou sugi ban to a cantilevered section of the home that defines the main living space," Dean Humphrey said.

"On this home we are using it as an architectural feature and because the clients simply loved the idea of incorporating it into their home.

"It will be a feature both internally and externally and also create a stunning contrast against the off-form concrete wall.

"The introverted nature of the architecture with the cantilevered section adds an air of mystery and the decision to char that black purposely adds to that.

Discover more ideas on Perth architecture and building and read more about the practice being applied on our Mosman Park residence currently under construction, or take a look at the images below showing different types of shou sugi ban use in architecture and interiors and the process itself (Image credits via nstagram: Inspire Woodcraft, Giving Tree Woodshop, Studio McGee, Simon Archer Studio, W Interior Concepts and Shou Sugi Ban Homes).

Humphrey Homes is an architecture and building company based in Cottesloe.  As a Perth local architect and builder, Humphrey Homes primarily designs and builds homes in Cottesloe, Dalkeith, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove, Nedlands, Subiaco and Floreat.

Examples of shou sugi ban architecture


Examples of shou sugi ban interior design

Shou Sugi Ban flame technique