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Why Tall Wooden Buildings are On the Rise: An Interview with Perkins+Will's Wood Expert

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural materials in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Wood. The United States is the largest producer of the natural resource in the world. But yet we rarely see it in commercial, high-rise construction. So we asked a wood expert -- Rebecca Holt at Perkins+Will, an analyst for reThink Wood's recent Tall Wood Survey  -- to tell us about its potential benefits. 

AD: Why is wood a material architects should use in taller buildings?

There are lots of reasons to consider wood – first it has a lower environmental impact than other traditional choices like concrete and steel.  Wood is the only major building material that is made the by sun and is completely renewable.

Arthur Andersson on Timeless Materials & Building "Ruins"

Tower House . Image © Art Gray
Tower House . Image © Art Gray

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural  in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless - to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary "Material Mind," after the break. 

Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Stone Creek Camp. Image © Art Gray

Ten Buildings Pushing The Boundaries of Wood

Perkins + Will UBC Earth Sciences Building. Image © Martin Tessler
Perkins + Will UBC Earth Sciences Building. Image © Martin Tessler

Wood is the ultimate material - it's renewable, sequesters carbon and more importantly, it's buildable. Nevertheless wood is rarely used in tall, vertical construction. Now reThink wood has come out with their Tall Wood Survey (available in full on their website), which surveyed over 50 wood experts to explore three main areas in which wood is usually questioned: financing, insurance and performance. But beyond discussing the pros and cons of wood, the survey also highlights 10 projects that show how wood products are being used in ways you never thought existed. See all ten innovative projects, after the break. 

Video: Tamedia New Office Building / Shigeru Ban Architects

Occupying an existing footprint in the heart of Zurich, Shigeru Ban Architects' Tamedia headquarters is distinct for its stunning timber structure. Beyond the environmental benefits of using wood as the main structural material, the wood's visibility "gives a very special character and high quality spatiality to the working atmosphere," as Ban once described. Take a look in the Spirit of Space video above for a good understanding of what if feels like to be inside the space. 

Brazilian Artist Builds Labyrinth of Wooden Roots

Given a cavernous gallery space at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade in São Paulo, artist Henrique Oliveira has created Transarquitetônica, a breathtaking installation from plywood, which fills the room with twisted tree roots large enough for gallery visitors to walk inside.

Read on after the break for more images of the installation, including photos of its construction

The exit from the root maze. Image Courtesy of MAC USP via www.mac.usp.br Screenshot from video Courtesy of MAC USP via www.mac.usp.br Brazilian Artist Builds Labyrinth of Wooden Roots

A+U 524: New Landscapes of Wooden Architecture

From the publisher. May 2014 issue of a+u is focused on wooden architecture from around the world that creates new landscapes.

In addition to nine built works, the issue features two competitions foreseeing the timber-nization of cities and three essays. The essays discuss different aspects of wood technology: adaptive timber structure of ultra-light shell by University of Stuttgart, harmonizing the joints of prefabricated wooden elements by collaboration of Finland's timber industry, university and government, and tall wood building technology in Canada and other countries. When these technologies become practical and realized as architecture, we will witness a completely new landscape.

Win a Free Full Pass to the 2014 AIA National Convention from reThink Wood

Next month, the AIA National Convention is coming to Chicago – bringing together the best and brightest building professionals to network, and learn about growing trends in the architecture industry. If you haven’t booked your ticket already, here is a chance to attend the event free of charge! 

reThink Wood is offering a full pre-paid pass to the AIA National Convention ($945 value) to one lucky ArchDaily reader. The winner will also be able to meet with architects on site that are passionate about innovative design with wood in mid-rise, and even high-rise projects.

To win, just answer the following question in the comments section before May 21 12:00PM EST: What architect(s) are doing the most interesting work with wood today?

More on reThink Wood at the AIA, after the break. 

Robert A.M. Stern Awards Master Student with $10,000 Travel Fellowship

The Robert A.M. Stern Architects has awarded McGill University Masters candidate Anna Antropva with the 2014 RAMSA Travel Fellowship, a $10,000 award presented annually to "promote investigations of the perpetuation of tradition through invention" - key to the firm's own work. With the award, Antropva will travel to Japan to further her research into ancient wood joinery techniques and their potential to be transformed and manipulated into modern day construction. “This elegant and efficient mode of construction could meaningfully inform our western building industry," she stated during her presentation to a jury that included Melissa DelVecchio, Dan Lobitz, and Grant F. Marani. 

Wood Encouragement Policy Coming To Australia

Latrobe City Council is pushing an initiative that would put “wood first.” If implemented, the “Wood Encouragement Policy” would educate architects and industry professionals about the structural and environmental benefits of wood in an effort to promote the local timber industry and use of sustainable building materials. Following the lead of the United States and New Zealand, both of which recently established “wood encouragement” policies, the council hopes that this will set a precedent that can be applied throughout the rest of Australia. 

Learning and Research Center (LRC) University of Alcalá / CDE Arquitectura

© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces

Architects: Celis-Echeverría CDE Arquitectura Location: Plaza de San Diego, S/N, 28801 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, España Partners Design Team: Ernesto Echeverría, Flavio Celis Architects In Charge: Ernesto Echeverría, Flavio Celis, Blanca Moreno Area: 11455.0 sqm Year: 2014 Photographs: Bernardo Corces

© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces
© Bernardo Corces

2014 U.S. Wood Design Award Winners

WoodWorks, an initiative of the Wood Products Council, has announced the winners of its 2014 National Wood Design Awards. Recognizing “outstanding projects that bring to life wood’s natural beauty and versatility in building design,” 13 projects have been selected from over 140 submissions for demonstrating “ingenuity in design or engineering.” 

The 2014 National Wood Design Award Winners are...

Tall Tinder: Are Wooden Skyscrapers Really Fire Safe?

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.

Six Essential Materials & The Architects That Love Them

In case you missed it, we’re re-publishing this popular post for your material pleasure. Enjoy!

To celebrate the recent launch of our US product catalog, ArchDaily Materials, we've coupled six iconic architects with what we deem to be their favourite or most frequently used material. From Oscar Neimeyer's sinuous use of concrete to Kengo Kuma's innovative use of wood, which materials define some of the world's best known architects?

Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Wood

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we've rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: wood. Check out the projects after the break...

Appleton Living / Minarc

  • Architects: Minarc
  • Location: Venice, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Design Team: Tryggvi Thorsteinsson, Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Art Gray

© Art Gray © Art Gray © Art Gray © Art Gray

Seventh House / Hernández Silva Arquitectos

  • Architects: Hernández Silva Arquitectos
  • Location: Zapopan, JAL, Mexico
  • Architect In Charge: Jorge Luis Hernández Silva
  • Design Team: Alejandro Aponte Gómez, Andrea Assad Álvarez
  • Area: 953.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Carlos Díaz Corona

© Carlos Díaz Corona © Carlos Díaz Corona © Carlos Díaz Corona © Carlos Díaz Corona

The Case For Tall Wood Buildings

Michael Green is calling for a drastic paradigm shift in the way we build. Forget steel, straw, concrete and shipping containers; use wood to erect urban skyscrapers. In a 240 page report - complete with diagrams, plans, renders and even typical wooden curtain wall details - Green outlines a new way of designing and constructing tall buildings using mass timber, all the while addressing common misconceptions of fire safety, structure, sustainability, cost and climate concerns. 

Public School 158 Bayard Taylor Library / A*PT ARCHITECTURE

Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE

Architects: A*PT ARCHITECTURE Location: 1458 York Avenue, New York, NY 10075, USA Area: 0.0 m2 Year: 2011 Photography: Courtesy of Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani

Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE
Courtesy of A*PT ARCHITECTURE