Wooden Architecture for a Carbon-neutral Future: Winning Projects of the ICONIC AWARDS

Wooden Architecture for a Carbon-neutral Future: Winning Projects of the ICONIC AWARDS

The European Union intends to be climate neutral by 2050. This will require decarbonization at all levels of the economy, and the construction sector will have a particularly key role to play. The sector accounts for around 40% of CO2 emissions globally, and steel and concrete, in particular, require enormous amounts of energy to produce. There needs to be a paradigm shift to replace these building materials and their associated environmental impact. Natural and renewable building materials play a crucial role in this.

In particular, off-road eco-wood is experiencing a true renaissance. Wooden architecture reduces the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in several ways. First, sustainably managed woods and forests play a key role in fighting the greenhouse effect by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The wood used for architecture, in turn, provides greater environmental protection, as the raw material acts as a natural binder for the greenhouse gas that causes global warming and thus as a carbon store. As a renewable and easily recyclable resource, it offers a compelling alternative to the mineral-based building materials that are used today.

Wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years, but the current trend for this material has little to do with traditional building techniques. Computer-aided design programs and the use of high-tech construction and processing machines now allow precisely calculated structures. These engineering possibilities minimize the use of materials and also open up entirely new aesthetic avenues. Architects are making bold progress here and actively helping shape a carbon-neutral future.

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Sensation in Strasbourg (France) by KOZ Architectes. Image © Cecile Septet

This trend is reflected in the winning projects of the ICONIC AWARDS: Innovative Architecture 2021, organized by the German Design Council. The firm KOZ Architectes has created the largest wooden residential building in Europe with Sensations in Strasbourg. The technical brilliance of this eleven-story building with 146 apartments meant that it could even be built in an area experiencing seismic activity. Cross-laminated wood (CLT) was used as the material.

This is also currently being used to build the Sawa residential tower in Rotterdam, designed by Mei architects and planners. The 50-meter-high building at the port features a staggered design all the way to the top, providing plenty of space for green spaces on the terraces of each floor and thus also supporting biodiversity.

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Sawa in Rotterdam (Netherlands) by Mei architects and planners. Image © WAX+Mei architects

Concepts that work on a large scale also make sense on a small scale: Hello Wood Studios' wooden workstation is a modular mini room that builds quickly and allows for flexible use.

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Workstation by Hello Wood Studios. Image © Hello Wood

There is also a rapid growth of new wood technologies outside the big cities. Be it the Stadttor Troisdorf project by Atelier Brückner, the passive house in the Franconian Lake District by Nouri-Schellinger, the house and studio in Mellau by Jürgen Haller Architekten, or the multigenerational house in Gümligen by Marazzi + Paul Architekten: wood is the vehicle of choice for the transition to a green and carbon-neutral future in all these structures.

Check more details of the ICONIC AWARDS: Innovative Architecture 2021 here.

Cite: "Wooden Architecture for a Carbon-neutral Future: Winning Projects of the ICONIC AWARDS" 01 Nov 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/971044/wooden-architecture-for-a-carbon-neutral-future-winning-projects-of-the-iconic-awards> ISSN 0719-8884
Workstation by Hello Wood Studios. Image © Hello Wood

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