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The timber-frame two and the wild, wild net

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webwatch

I have always had a soft spot for timber frame ever since that Paul Greengrass documentary in the early 1980s wiped the construction method from the face of British housebuilding. The Americans, Antipodeans and Scandinavians all do timber frame like it is the natural way - and although you always have reservations about sound transmission, it isn't exactly great the way blockwork walls are normally built.

Well, new venture Optima Homes (www. optimahomes. co. uk) is a collaboration between architect Cartwright Pickard and construction engineer Pace Timber Systems. The former designs, the latter builds - or, more accurately, prefabricates. The homepage is a burst of activity: a timber house assembles and disassembles itself, distracting the surfer from the tiny text. Apart from that, the site is simply designed and well-organised into eight sections from 'The System' through a brisk and non-preachy 'Sustainable Construction' to 'Contacts' and 'Links'. These also appear along the bottom of the screen so you don't have to scroll up. Oh, and there is an image of a forest plantation on the right. You click the link to Pace and fall back as the wildly animated characters dance about and frenetic images flash on and off.

Oddly, there is no link to the architect.

But you feel they must have had a calming influence on the web designer.

Here is one from an old and valued correspondent, architect Richard Pain.

It is at www. amplifier. com and is the site of some wild net publicists - you might call them web designers for creatives.

Raucous creatives. There's nothing stiff and understated about the boys at Amplifier and I would be curious to see what they might do for an architectural client. Probably not one of the big commercial boys for whom po-faced is de rigeur, nor yet one of the carefully self-consciously en vogue young lions.

Nor comfy country practices either.

Actually, I'm not sure who they could work for. But there must be somebody.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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