Conservation Consultancy Xylotek offers conservation services on historic structures that require sympathetic specialist renovation. Drawing experience of renovation projects including Windsor Castle and the Antarctic huts of Scott and Skackleton, we understand a wide range of traditional timber construction techniques and the contemporary methods of repair, consolidation and replacement. We work internationally meeting the needs and requirements of listed buildings and heritage organisations.
xylo- /ˈzʌɪləʊ/; zīˈlō; wood
tek- /tɛk/; technical; technique
Xylotek specialises in the design and delivery of advanced timber structures. Founded by Charley Brentnall, Oscar Emanuel and Martin Self, we offer bespoke specialist consultancy, production and erection services at all project stages from conception to built realisation.
Based in the UK and working internationally, we provide unique depth of knowledge of timber construction combined with technical and design expertise. Working with architects, engineers and directly with clients, we connect digital design and fabrication techniques with capability in practical delivery, driven by a passionate understanding of the complexities of wood.
Services - Overview
We tailor our services to match your specific project’s needs:
On large projects we complement wider consultant and contractor teams by providing focused specialist input.
On smaller projects, or structures where timber is the prime component we manage and deliver the whole project from idea to artefact.
Our unique offering is to bring expertise in timber design, fabrication and construction to ALL stages of a project.
Pre-tender Consultancy We help manage risk in the early project stages by carrying out preliminary design and costing work, to ensure viability in financial, time and material terms. Our pre-tender design advisory services include 3D modelling and visualisation, engineering, cost-planning, project programming, fabrication process-defining, material consultancy, tender specifications, reports and advice. We seek to contribute creatively to projects and can support architectural competition entries.
Advanced Geometry Xylotek is fluent in the latest digital 3D-modelling techniques and is experienced in developing bespoke software for geometric form-finding and managing complex production data for fabrication – including the particular geometric information needed for multi-axis CNC wood machining. We enable digital integration, including BIM, throughout design and fabrication.
Timber Engineering With in-house knowledge of timber structural engineering, including Eurocode 5 and BS5268, we offer specialist engineering services within projects, typically providing element sizing, connection details and their supporting analyses and calculations. Within large projects we can work to support the project’s consultant engineers by providing specialist timber expertise.
Prototyping We are makers who believe that a material system is best understood by testing it physically. We test prototype design ideas at full-scale and offer prototyping services to support design development of a project, whether at the project conception stage or in detailed design. This physical testing can include load-testing to prove structural performance and feeds into engineering calculations, costs analyses and production plans.
Fabrication Procurement With knowledge of the various wood fabrication techniques – from traditional carpentry, through multi-axis CNC to full 6-axis robotics – and with great connections to networks of fabricator suppliers we can specify, define and procure the timber elements required for any project. We understand the subtleties of sourcing timber and the workflow of processing from tree to construction site.
Installation With experience of the erection of unusual and large-scale timber structures and buildings, we can mobilise and direct a specialist installation team either as part of a fuller design-and-supply contract, to carry out the installation only – for example on behalf of a supplier in continental Europe.
For UK installations we are well experienced with the CDM regulations; and we always operate with safety and quality as our prime concerns.
Project management With over 50 years’ combined experience in delivering complex projects in wood, we offer Project Management services to oversee the coordination, scheduling and financial control of timber structure main- and sub-contracts. We enjoy collaboration and are flexible in how we contribute to a wider team.
Charley Brentnall is an internationally recognised leader in timber construction and conservation. With work spanning four decades and four continents, he has established a unique professional approach which combines intimate understanding of material with the ability to lead the delivery of large and complex timber structures.
As the founder of Carpenter Oak and Woodland in 1987, Charley pioneered the renaissance of timber-framing in the UK and became the country's leading expert in traditional construction.
Since 2000 his work has evolved to embrace new technologies and he seeks, as a founder of Xylotek, to marry depth of knowledge with wood with the opportunities of advanced fabrication.
Having led projects internationally and in a range of cultural and educational contexts, Charley has particular expertise in forming and enabling teams to deliver exceptional projects.
Oscar Emanuel leads Xylotek’s business development and management. Having worked internationally in timber construction for 20 years, he has comprehensive knowledge of the processes and technologies of designing and building with wood.
In 2008 he co-founded timber construction company EmanuelHendry which successfully grew as a design-led timber-framing firm delivering to the UK market. During the past three years Oscar has been operating from eastern France working as a consultant to US and European architects and timber engineering companies in project management, design and project development, and now brings this range of expertise to Xylotek.
Martin Self is an engineer, geometer and educator who has specialised in innovative timber structures since 2005. Following a background in aerospace engineering, he was a founder member of Arup's Advanced Geometry Unit (2000-2006) and Director of Hooke Park (2010-2018), the Architectural Association's woodland campus for experimental timber architecture, where he continues to teach.
Key previous projects include the 2005 Serpentine Pavilion, for which he developed a pioneering application of geometric scripting for robotic fabrication; the form-finding for the Pompidou Metz timber roof at its concept design stage; tutoring the AA's summer pavilions 2006-9; and directing the design and construction of a series of timber buildings at Hooke Park that radically explore the use of locally grown wood.
Work for us
We are recruiting. More details here.
Valerie Bennett www.valeriebennett.com (project images for Woodchip Barn and Timber Seasoning Shelter)
Gord Macdonald M&L (Kinsol Trestle abseiler image)
Ellie Walpole www.fishpolephotography.co.uk (Charley Brentnall portrait)
Henrietta Williams henriettawilliams.com (project images for Venn Farm and Glenloch Road)
Scott's Hut // Conservation of the historic huts of the Ross Sea region, Antarctica // Client: Antarctic Heritage Trust // Our roles: Charley Brentnall - timber conservator (3 seasons) and lead carpenter (1 season)
Pompidou Metz - concept design stage // Timber free-form roof inspired by woven chinese hat // Architect: Shigeru Ban // Engineer: Arup // Our roles: Geometric form-finding and structural design at competition stage (at Arup AGU)