Crucks are pairs of curved timbers and generally consist of
two halves of a tree trunk. They are regarded as one of the earliest
type of timber frame. This subject has been the cause of much debate
amongst building historians. F.W.B.Charles, in his book "Conservation
of Timber Buildings", puts foward a very interesting argument for their
long antiquity - an opinion that I also share.
The massive Tithe barn at Leigh Court in Herefordshire was one
of my favourite inspirations. The cruck frames here are the largest
known and it is unusual that each giant curving timber is a whole tree.
One can only look with amazement at the superb carpentry and wonder
at the lifting capabilities of the 14th century craftspeople.
In the building you see to the left the central cruck is based on the
afore mentioned. For the entrance frame I chose to break with tradition
by crossing the cruck timbers. This not only produced the arched shape
door frame but also helps to transmit roof loadings directly to the ground
like a traditional cruck.
The finnished design for me echoes a Scandiavian / Viking style
whose art in building and wood carving I constantly marvel at.
The aesthetic qualities of the simple cruck frame;especially the arches
formed by the braces that sweep up to the collar beams make it a
favourite element in many of my building designs.