In line with our new content direction, Architizer is highlighting a different building-product and how to specify it. This week’s topic is Wood Flooring. If you’re looking for the perfect wood flooring for your next project, search for it on Architizer’s new network marketplace for building-products. Click here to see if you qualify. It’s free for architects.
With a few exceptions, no single architectural project is entirely made of building-products sourced from the same place. It takes a village of manufacturers — all working in conjunction with architects, engineers and contractors — to compose a proper shelter for us to inhabit. Everything from the exterior cladding and the roof to the window hinges and the kitchen countertops are hand-selected from around the world and chosen for their performance and aesthetic quality. The same goes for something as seemingly simple as flooring: As an interior structural element that heavily contributes to the experiential qualities of a space, it’s imperative that architects choose the most appropriate material to go beneath our feet.
This is where wood comes in. We all know what bad wood flooring looks like, but truly great wood flooring is an instant turn-on. It’s sexy. It’s clean. It has a level of depth and texture that fake wood flooring, ceramic tiles and even concrete can’t inherently produce. It’s all-natural and cuts to our core. Each individual plank features a distinct pattern and porosity that can’t be precisely reproduced in the plank next to it.
Plank selection as seen inside the Hudson Company’s Chelsea showroom
The Hudson Company, a New York–based wood manufacturer, knows the detailed work that goes into designing and fabricating premium wood flooring. Out of their 30,000-square-foot mill in Dutchess County, they process reclaimed and live species of wood into stunning floors for private residences, commercial spaces and cultural institutions such as the Jewish Museum of New York, the Anchorage Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
One of their recent projects, flooring for Sunnyfields, a horse farm and traditional Georgian-style home in Millbrook, New York, actually featured Heart Pine that came directly from a row of historic townhouses in the Upper East Side. It was milled to a width of 10 inches based on the client’s desire for Scandinavian-inspired, antique light-wood floors — a trend that the Hudson Company says is gaining ground. What’s more, they used reclaimed redwood from the city’s decommissioned rooftop water tanks to outfit a custom door, window frames and the interior trim for the house.
Sunnyfield features reclaimed Heart Pine and live-sawn White Oak floors.
Over the last 22 years, the Hudson Company has grown from a small upstate woodshop into a robust provider of specially designed wood flooring with showrooms in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. They carefully choose wood for their commissions based on several factors including location, strength and color. Their popular Select Harvest flooring, which makes first use of sustainably harvested “new wood,” comes directly from local private landowners. Some of their other live wood products are sourced from the rich soils of Normandy, France. But when the project calls for it, the Hudson Company repurposes wood that’s already lived a weathered life in other architectural settings.
The Hudson Company used Heart Pine to cover all gallery floors in the column-free Whitney Museum.
When Renzo Piano Building Workshop called on the Hudson Company to custom-make the massive flooring for the Whitney Museum’s new headquarters in Chelsea, the wood manufacturer pulled material from a single demolition project in Louisville, Kentucky. Ninety-five percent of the milled timber floors from the city’s old Phillip Morris Factory ended up as part of the bright interior of the world-famous High Line–adjacent building.
Inside the Hudson Company’s Pine Plains mill
The Hudson Company milled a total of 27 tractor trailers of reclaimed Heart Pine joists — more than 270,000 board feet — into wide planks as large as 5 by 17 by 22 inches and timber beams as large as 11 by 17 by 22 inches for the project. During the grading, sorting and selection process, the entire design team visited the mill in Pine Plains, New York, including Renzo Piano. The brilliant find resulted in floor planks 1.5 inches thick by 8 inches wide and 5 to 15 feet long.
Inside the Hudson Company’s Pine Plains mill
It’s obvious that the Hudson Company doesn’t discriminate against the origins of wood. Wherever they can find the best material — whether it’s from the dead standing trees near their own mill or the decaying farm buildings of the Ohio River Valley or the northeastern United States — good wood is good wood, and the Hudson Company knows how to turn good wood into beautiful building-products.
They work with high-character woods and floors to make unique grain patterns as well as more rugged reclaimed products with original saw kerf faces and other markings showing their historic use. For instance, their reclaimed Travaux flooring comes from the maple floors of bygone factories. The super dense wood reveals the former wear and tear within each plank without sacrificing durability. For reused flooring such as this, they de-nail, re-saw, kiln-dry and mill the wood to make such custom specifications.
Samples of the Hudson Company’s custom flooring from top left to bottom right: Lyon, Bare Flat Sawn (floor), Parquet de Versailles, Chalk, Wellfleet + Higgins and Reclaimed Oak, Original Face in Chevron
While the company formerly only offered a simple selection of these Reclaimed Beams and Paneling, it has now ventured into solid and engineered plank, pattern and parquet flooring, prefinished and unfinished products, offering an array of flooring for projects across the state and around the world. Its unparalleled experience, coupled with a dedicated staff, has allowed the Hudson Company to use its depth of knowledge on sourcing and processing wood to forge the endless list of phenomenal floors in its portfolio.
Images courtesy the Hudson Company
To find the perfect wood flooring for your next project, search on Source, Architizer’s new community marketplace for building-products. Click here to sign up now. It’s free for architects.