Architectural design uses wood casework in both a functional and aesthetic way. By casework, we’re referring to cabinets with shelves, doors and drawers, or any other form of cabinetry typically built into the walls of residential and commercial buildings. These shop-fabricated pieces can be built to specific and standardized measurements, but in true architectural design, there’s a lot more that must be considered.
An Overview Of Wood Casework
Even when standardized measurements are involved, architectural wood casework must boast structural integrity, a sound aesthetic, and be constructed according to best industry practices. The AWI standard for architectural wood casework outlines these best practices for the woodworking industry, covering everything from aesthetics and how to best carry out execution, to the quality of the chosen materials and standards.
The AWI Standards are used by woodworking professionals around the world as a way of ensuring that their projects comply with best industry practices, perform in the desired way, and exceed client expectations. In order to shine a light on the efficacy of the standards, we’re going to look at four of the best examples of AWI-compliant wood casework we’ve seen in architectural design.
Some Of The Best Examples We’ve Seen Of Wood Casework
Unlike millwork, casework items are in some cases mass-produced and based on standard measurements. This means that customizations can occur. However, if you follow the AWI Standards, you can rest assured that the quality of these casework products will be second to none.
According to the AWI Standards, casework products are classified into three categories based on the exterior exposed face:
- Wood casework, with wood faces for a transparent or opaque finish
- Decorative laminate casework, with HPDL or LPDL faces
- Solid phenolic casework, with solid phenolic faces
In terms of wood materials, casework has two categories:
- Stock wood and semi-custom casework: This includes medium-density fiberboard, medium-density overlay, and industrial grade particleboard
- Custom wood casework: Some examples of this include maple, pine, birch, mahogany, walnut, and chestnut lumber
Here are some of the best examples of wood casework we’ve found, all of which are well-built and elegantly designed, and that’s down to the skill of the woodworkers and the standards they follow.
1. A&M University Computing Center
The aesthetics of this computer center are based on exquisite woodwork. The casework is particularly outstanding. From the lobbies and reception booth to the conference table, the wood finish accentuates the building’s ergonomic design and combines both the high tech and the traditional concepts of interior design.
2. Outpatient Clinic, Holloman Air Force Base
This outpatient clinic at the Holloman Air Force Base in Otero County, New Mexico, showcases excellent woodwork. It has a relaxing vibe that complements the natural light and bright interiors. The orthogonal design of the building combines wood, glass, and marble, while the expansive visual appeal of the facility is highlighted by the warm maple wood finish.
3. Klarman Hall, Harvard
Interior wood finishes are traditionally used in institutions of higher learning. However, the somber tones used in the past are now being replaced with vibrant, bright, and modern wood finishes. The craftsmanship applied in the wood casework and woodwork finish of the Klarman Hall at Harvard Business College is a testament to the fusion of tradition and innovation. Aside from aesthetic visual appeal, the wood finish is also designed to aid acoustics.
4. Campus Commons, University of Chicago
This building at the University of Chicago is a residential and dining facility for students. It applies the concept of commons or communal living with the help of expansive architecture, natural lighting, and wood finish. From the reception area of the lobby to the mess hall, the elegance of the design is highlighted by the softwood finish and curved walls. Study nooks and lounges are found on the various floors of the building, integrating excellent casework designs.