Nowadays the main building materials used in the construction industry are concrete, steel and timber. From the point of view of ecological sustainability, there are four important differences between these three materials: first, timber is the only material of the three that is renewable; second, timber needs only a small amount of energy to be extracted and recycled compared to steel and concrete (but the implementation of its potential is not as developed yet); third, timber does not produce waste by the end of its life since it can be reused many times in several products before decomposing or being used as fuel and; and fourth, timber traps huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere – a tree can contain a ton of CO2  – and the carbon absorbed remains embedded as long as the wood is in use.
Considering the fact that 36 percent of total carbon emissions in Europe during the last decade came from the building industry, as well as 39 percent of total carbon emissions in the United States, the materiality of construction should be a priority for governments’ regulations in the future as measurements against global warming. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the level of carbon emissions of the big economies across the globe are big issues that need to be solved with urgency in order to avoid larger, more frequent climate catastrophes in the future. The current regulation in several countries of the EU, which is incentivizing the use of renewable materials in buildings, is showing the direction the building industry in many other parts of the world should follow. And if these measures are adopted across the EU and beyond – if other countries start to follow this tendency as well – there will be significantly more wood in cities.
The Swedish exhibition, “The Forests of Venice,” has been selected as a Collateral Event for the 2016 Venice Biennale. Initiated by Kjellander + Sjöberg and Folkhem; and curated by Jan Åman, the exhibit highlights wood as a sustainable material, while looking at "the interaction between nature and the man-made human habitat in order to respond to climate change and limited resources."
MVRDV’s design for the Dutch exhibition “Hola Holanda” at the Book Fair of Bogotá (FILBO) features a modular system of crates that will be repurposed as neighbourhood libraries after the Book Fair ends. Avoiding the waste of resources created by one-time pavilions, the Dutch firm has introduced a playful element of sustainability to the fair, maintaining its spirit even after the event ends.
Next month, the AIA National Convention is heading to Philadelphia! As the premier architecture and design conference of the year, this is a can’t-miss event for those involved with the industry. If you haven’t yet purchased your pass, we’re offering a chance to attend free of charge!
reThink Wood is offering a full pre-paid pass to the 2016 AIA National Convention ($1,050 value) to one lucky ArchDaily reader. The winner will have the chance to meet with architects, engineers, academics and developers that are passionate about innovative design with wood.
To win, just answer the following question in the comments section before Friday, April 22 at 12:00 p.m. ET: Which mass timber building in the U.S. has most inspired you?
A group of researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has developed Optically Transparent Wood (TW), a new material that could greatly impact the way we develop our architectural projects. Published in the American Chemical Society's journal Biomacromolecules, the transparent timber is created through a process that removes the chemical lignin from a wood veneer, causing it to become very white. This white porous veneer is then impregnated with a transparent polymer, matching the optical properties of the individual cells and making the whole material translucent.
The first in a series of exhibitions devoted to modern, local Russian wood craftsmanship — WOOD WORKS — will bring together workshops, designers and artisans at the Moscow design cluster ARTPLAY on April 1-3, 2016. The central themes of WOOD WORKS are wood, functionality, design, sustainability, uniqueness and local production. The fair will also feature cultural, educational and musical programs, as well as a craft market and a cafe.
Jyväskylä, a city whose status as the center of Finnish culture and academia during the nineteenth century earned it the nickname “the Athens of Finland,” awarded Alvar Aalto the contract to design a university campus worthy of the city’s cultural heritage in 1951. Built around the pre-existing facilities of Finland’s Athenaeum, the new university would be designed with great care to respect both its natural and institutional surroundings.
The city of Jyväskylä was by no means unfamiliar to Aalto; he had moved there as a young boy with his family in 1903 and returned to form his practice in the city after qualifying as an architect in Helsinki in 1923. He was well acquainted with Jyväskylä’s Teacher Seminary, which had been a bastion of the study of the Finnish language since 1863. Such an institution was eminently important in a country that had spent most of its history as part of either Sweden or Russia. As such, the teaching of Finnish was considered an integral part of the awakening of the fledgling country’s national identity.
Following an invitation by the city of Bordeaux in December 2015, Sou Fujimoto Architects and laisné roussel have revealed their proposal “Canopia”: a mixed-use development, featuring a 50-meter-tall residential building made of wood and offering 199 homes, 3,770m² of office space and 500m² of retail outlets in Bordeaux, France. The tower would be one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world. Read more about this project after the break.
For the past several years, there’s been increasing talk of a renaissance in timber construction. Although we are predisposed to thinking of wood as a component limited to the classic balloon-frame house, new technologies have generated alternative materials which look like and are created from wood, but are stronger and more versatile than their more traditional cousins. While there are a number of different products on the market, including Glulam and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), the material that seems to hold the most promise for changing construction is Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).
The engineered material is created by stacking and gluing smaller pieces of structural lumber, each layer perpendicular to the one below it, to create wooden panels with a number of advantages to other commercial construction materials. According to Reinhard Sauter, owner of Sauter Timber, “CLT has excellent seismic values, it is extremely durable, competitive in price to steel and concrete, lighter and thinner than the latter, and with reduced construction times” - all of which made it an obvious material candidate for the company’s award-winning construction facility in Rockwood, Tennessee, completed in 2014. The structure, which was built with a Glulam frame and CLT wall and roof panels, offers an insight into how these materials can be effectively utilized in future commercial and industrial structures.
From the architect. Held over seven days and visited by over 350,000 people, Fleadh Cheoil na h Éireann is the world’s largest traditional Irish music festival, and was hosted in Sligo, Ireland during the 2015 version. NósWorkshop was invited to build a temporary stage for the festival, sheltering performances and providing a giant notice board to promote the festival events.
Cyprus designer Stelios Mousarris has designed a cantilevering wood and steel table inspired by the Christopher Nolan thriller Inception. The "Wave City Coffee Table," as it's known, was designed based on the movie's scene where the power to bend dreams according to the dream architect’s will is demonstrated, according to Bored Panda.
Mousarris, once a model maker for Fosters and Partners and an assistant designer at Duffy London, is making a name for himself by designing unique furniture for his self-titled design company Moussaris.
Over a four day period during the New Generations Festival, curators Edouard Cabay (Appareil, ES) and Margherita Del Grosso (MaDGStudio, IT) led an experimental workshop within a shipyard at the Historical Center of Genoa that resulted in a "Bent" installation inspired by navel construction.
"By bending wood into an (in)habitable structure reminiscent of naval craft, a dialogue was created between the medieval urban fabric of Genoa and its tradition as maritime city," says the curators. "Although is still at the heart of the city's economy, its industry has been relegated to the margins of Genoa, generating conflict and ambiguity between the shore and the urban fabric. The workshop provided an occasion to mend this detachment through an architectural installation that, rather than bringing the city towards the sea, brings the marine element back into the urban fabric."
Designed by Félix Guyon of Les Ateliers Guyon in Verchères, Quebec, "Sails Benches" is a monument to the original founding families of Verchères, commissioned by the municipality. Having worked in Montreal for many years, Guyon returned to his native village for this personal project, which was selected as the winning design of the Furniture Category at the World Interiors Awards 2015 in London, "charming" the judges with the personal narrative and sensitivity of his Sail Benches, according to a press release. Read more about the project after the break.
Set in the depths of rural Hungary, Hello Wood has emerged from the landscape for its 2015 edition, entitled 'Project Village'. Since 2010, the Hungarian-led collective of architects, designers, students and artists have gathered from around the world to create temporary wooden installations. Now in its sixth year, Hello Wood was realized with the help of 150 volunteers from 30 countries, and co-curated by Johanna Muszbek, with the shared vision to build a series of community-driven pavilions. Together the teams created fifteen unique wooden pavilions, each centred on a different component of the architecture of a village.
Over the course of two days, architect Jan Tyrpekl created The Nest, an experimental structure built without any investors, sponsors, assignment, or project documentation in Strančice, in the Czech Republic. Made of about $120 USD worth of Osier Willow wood, The Nest perches in a park in the designer’s hometown, interlaced between tree branches, so as not to damage or affect the tree.
DITTEL | ARCHITEKTEN GmbH has created Pop Up Box, a convertible retail space located in a shopping center in Stuttgart, Germany. With its cube design, the Box serves as a self-contained, customizable presentation area, where retailers can move three of the four pieces to create his or her own sales space.