Introducing Kloboucká Lesní’s HQ: using Mass Timber and Solar to eliminate carbon in buildings

The project takes Cradle to Cradle and the Circular Economy to a new level

Thu 23 Mar 23


Nestled within the natural landscape of Brumov-Bylnice in the Czech Republic, the Kloboucká Lesní’s new 1,034sqm headquarters stands as an elongated structure featuring a distinctive mass timber shell. Kloboucká Lesní – a prominent European integrated forest management company – is responsible for managing sustainable forests, harvesting and manufacturing glue-laminated timber beams (mass timber). Designed by Mjölk architekti, the project, showcased in designboom and Dezeen earlier this month, boasts an oversized timber gable constructed from certified spruce-glulam sourced from the companies nearby forests.

Kloboucká Lesní is an integrated forest management company. Their new office is located just one hundred metres away from one of their forests under management. In addition, they are a fully certified PEFC company meaning that their full forest management, haulage and manufacturing operations are subject to third party certification.
Design Intent

The primary objective of the project was to create a functional, visually appealing building that showcases the beauty and versatility of Kloboucká Lesní’s KVH-BSH (Glulam Beams).

According to Mjölk architekti:

“We proposed a place for creative work, research, and innovation. The main load-bearing structure forms a modular shell for the building, leaving the interior space free and adjustable, including contingencies for unexpected growth. The building design shows the way for future construction projects. Environmentally responsible, simple and modest, but equipped with cutting-edge technology – and placed in a natural setting surrounded by vegetation and water.”

From Crade to Cradle: Kloboucká Lesní’s commitment to Sustainability

Kloboucká Lesní is fully certified to PEFC standards, ensuring that their total forest production process – from forest management, to haulage, manufacture, and distribution – adheres to a total chain of custody process.

The load-bearing structure is made exclusively from timber produced on-site in the Kloboucká Lesní production hall, located just a few hundred meters from the building. The project utilised glued laminated timber for the building frame, which is a flagship product in the company’s portfolio.

“We wanted the new building to be made from local materials and we wanted to know how far we could go with it in terms of design and, more importantly, in terms of construction,” Mjölk Architekti architect Filip Cerha told Dezeen earlier this month.

“The result then is the monumentality of the gable, which gives us a beautiful space of a covered terrace planted with pots of greenery, but above all refers to the magnificence of the possibility of using wood in buildings that can help to build sustainably.”

Sustainability underpins all of Kloboucká Lesní’s activities. Visit their website to learn more about their nursery and how they take care of their forest. (Photo credit: BoysPlayNice)

Indeed, all trees harvested for the project have been replanted, emphasising the commitment by Kloboucka Lesni to a fully circular economy.

A traditional modular shell meets a modern, simple interior

The construction features a glued laminated timber frame, a concrete core, and steel bracing, whilst various types of façade cladding fill each frame span according to the interior program and layout. The modular timber structure offers significant adaptability for future functional changes.

Careful consideration was given to the colour and grain of the wood when selecting the best lumber and the ideal forest for felling. According to Mjölk architekti:

“The Partitions give the interior an open feel. All the glazed walls and the bio-board cladding have sliding bearings in relation to the movement of the timber building.”

The load-bearing structure runs through the entire building, rhythmically dividing the interiors where contemporary design elements contrast nicely with the traditional gable roof exterior. Inside, employee wellbeing and simplicity are prioritized.

At ground level, a series of covered outdoor terraces intersperse the building, encouraging social activities and relaxation. The rooftop features an open space covered by a sophisticated roof with a solar power plant. Where sunlight cannot reach, photovoltaic panels are replaced by glass.

Combining GLT with Solar: The ultimate low embodied carbon building

According to a recent report by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, the building and construction industry is responsible for a widening gap between climate performance and the 2050 decarbonization pathway.

Completely off-gird: The project combines glulam, solar panels and glazing to generate enough energy storage to run the company’s total energy needs. (Photo credit: BoysPlayNice).

To address this, the project’s combination of glulam, solar panels and glazing ensures that the building has enough energy storage to meet its total production needs – with surplus energy storied in 72 Kw batteries, the building generates enough excess energy to power the company’s total product needs.

In addition, Rainwater runoff from the roof is collected in open ponds and utilized for irrigation and cooling during the summer months. The water surface also helps reflect diffused daylight, bringing lighter deeper into the building. The primary source of heating for the building and the surrounding area is a central boiler house, using biomass from wood chips produced on-site as the main fuel.

A building designed for the future in mind

The project is designed with the future in mind, as it seeks to set the direction for sustainable construction practices.

As Filip Cerha notes, “the building is designed to set the direction for the future, taking into account ecological considerations, simplicity, and frugality combined with the latest technologies.”

It’s focus on environmental solutions, including the use of low embodied carbon materials, solar panels, and rainwater collection, makes it a model for future construction projects seeking to address climate change challenges and promote sustainability. As the building and construction industry continues to grapple with high embodied carbon, this project serves as an inspiration for the construction of beautiful and functional buildings using low embodied materials.


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