While interest in tall timber buildings continues to grow, there still remains one obvious concern: combustibility. So how safe are timber structures really? Arup Connect spoke with Robert Gerard, a fire engineer in Arup’s San Francisco office, to find out how high-rise wood buildings take fire safety into account.
New Zealand has appointed Auckland architect David Mitchell to serve as creative director and lead the country’s first participation at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Bridging from Rem Koolhaas’ theme, “Fundamentals”, Mitchell plans to exhibit New Zealand’s tradition of pacific-style architecture and light timber construction through a series of models.
“We’re going to show off some of the most unsung architecture in the world, our Pacific architecture,” described Mitchell. “It’s an architecture made out of poles, beams and panels and not out of heaps of rocks, bricks and tiles.”
Although known for their iconic skyscrapers of glass and steel, SOM has begun to redefine our idea of the high-rise by pushing for wood as an alternative material for tall buildings. Not only could it help solve the worldwide problem of housing for those who are or will live in cities, but wooden skyscrapers could also address climate change by reducing a building’s carbon footprint. Click here to read about the structural system that SOM has come up with and don’t check out our previous coverage on the equally fascinating Timber Tower Research Project!
The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the USGBC’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.
Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:
SOM has come up with a structural system for skyscrapers that uses mass timber as the main structural material and minimizes the embodied carbon footprint of the building. The firm believes that their proposal is technically feasible from the standpoint of structural engineering, architecture, interior layouts, and building services and would revolutionize the traditional skyscraper as we know it.
Read on to learn more about The Timber Tower Research Project.
Have you ever wanted to create delicate, complex shapes from plywood, but can’t because it’s too stiff and unforgiving? Well all that might soon change, thanks to Milan-based design studio MammaFotogramma. They have created a type of flexible, ‘Woodskin‘ triangular tiles of Russian plywood.
Read more about Woodskin after the break…
Designed by the Kubala Washatko Architects of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, the Iron Horse Hotel is an upscale boutique hotel that caters to motorcycle enthusiasts and travelers. The 100,000sf project was completed in 2008 as a refurbishment to an existing factory — more images and architect description after the break.
Architects: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
Locaiton: Wakefield, England
Planning Supervisor: Nps North East
Main Contractor: Allenbuild North East
Structural Engineer: Techniker
Client: Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and NPS North East
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 1,740 sqm
Photographs: Mark Hadden Photography
The traditional wooden construction of Japanese architecture is extremely detailed. Its exacting precision and craftsmanship has stood the test of time for centuries. However, the process of handcrafting each wooden beam with mortises and tenons is quite labor intensive, and with an aging workforce, automation of the production process is key to continuing the tradition.