Tropical Africa boasts vast forests that cover 3.6 million square kilometers of land in West, East, and Central Africa. These forests provide valuable timber resources that significantly impact sectors, such as the furniture, fuel, and paper industries. However, interestingly, timber is seemingly absent in the contemporary architecture of the countries in this region. While architectural taste plays a role, the main reasons for this absence can be attributed to the wood industries' inability to meet the requirements of availability, affordability, aesthetic appeal, durability, and climatic and structural performance of timber. The wood industry in tropical Africa is mainly composed of informal and small-scale operations, focused primarily on sawing logs rather than refining wood for architectural or structural purposes. Despite this, the large number of informal enterprises in the region presents an opportunity to reshape the wood industry and utilize the local forestry resources to construct timber buildings.
Wood Construction: The Latest Architecture and News
Stockholm Wood City: Construction of the World's Largest Urban Development Project in Wood to Begin in 2025
Atrium Ljungberg has just revealed Stockholm Wood City – the world's largest urban construction project in wood. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2025, and the first buildings are expected to be completed in 2027. The initiative is a demonstration of Swedish sustainability.
The largest wood-building project in the world is now in progress, covering an impressive 250,000 square meters. The project sets a sustainable example for the real estate market, which is essential because built structures contribute a sizeable 40% of the world's CO2 emissions. Furthermore, Stockholm Wood City is set to become a turning point in sustainable architecture and urban planning. Situated in Sickla, southern Stockholm, this innovative neighborhood will offer an additional 2,000 houses and 7,000 business spaces. By merging workplaces, homes, neighborhoods, dining establishments, and retail spaces, it aims to create a vibrant and dynamic urban environment.
Wood is the concrete of the future. As timber construction becomes increasingly popular, you have probably heard this phrase. However, we are not talking about traditional construction techniques using timber, but rather about this well-known material combined with cutting-edge technology.
OMA / David Gianotten and Circlewood Develop a Modular Wood System to Create Flexible Schools for the City of Amsterdam
As part of the Circlewood consortium, OMA’s David Gianotten and Michel den Otter have developed a modular system to build schools that can adapt and transform throughout their lifecycle. The system was selected by the City of Amsterdam to be employed to build multiple schools in the coming ten years, as part of the Innovation Partnership School Buildings program. The citywide initiative aims to build nine to thirty “high-quality, flexible, and sustainable” schools as a way to contribute to the city’s goal of becoming fully circular by 2050.
The Canadian Wood Council has announced the winners of the 39th annual Wood Design & Building Awards program. The awards program honors and recognizes the remarkable contributions of architects worldwide who excel in wood design and construction. This year, the program attracted a record 181 nominations from 25 different countries, and 24 winning projects were chosen from the excellent pool of submissions.
Shigeru Ban has just launched the office’s most recent project in Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp, Belgium. Named Ban, after its creator, and in collaboration with Bureau Bouwtechniek, the complex puts in place a 25-story residential tower and a separate building, creating a total of 295 residential units. During the breaking ground ceremony, the architect also inaugurated an exhibition of images highlighting his humanitarian work in conflict and disaster areas, in near proximity to the construction site.
Milan-based architecture studio Peter Pichler has designed an eco-resort to develop a new concept of hospitality in the European Alpine region. Dubbed the YOUNA Nature Resorts, the complex follows the mountain’s silhouette to offer a maximized relaxation experience. The A-shape typology allows wide opens the front facade to connect with nature while reaching high-private interiors under the same roof. The resort is the last of the studio’s series of projects in the Italian rural area, including a hotel in Maranza and a prototype of a treehouse in the forest of the Dolomites.
Icon Architects unveiled the design of a 90 meters tall timber tower in Toronto, Canada, which would become, once completed, North America's tallest building made of wood. Named the "191-199 College Street," the project is aligned with the master plan led by Alison Brooks Architects, Adjaye Associates, Henning Larsen, and SLA to develop Toronto's Waterfront that seeks to turn the Canadian city into a hub of affordable housing, robust public spaces, and new business opportunities. The construction of the CLT tower will cut over 3,300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and accommodate around 400 affordable rental units.
Herzog & de Meuron have unveiled their latest mixed-use development in one of Austin, Texas' most desirable districts. Dubbed ‘Sixth & Blanco’, the continuous horizontal wooden structure is nestled between vernacular store fronts, restaurants, stores, galleries, tree-lined streets, and walkable routes near the Clarksville neighborhood. The challenge of the project was to propose an architecture that takes key ingredients from its surroundings and distributes them throughout a dense yet permeable program.
Danish design studio ADEPT has won a competition to design one of Germany’s largest fully-wooden construction buildings in the Wandsbek district of Hamburg, Germany. The building, which counts almost 34,000 sqm, is expected to open in 2026 and will house public administration facilities.
Structural timber is in the midst of a renaissance; an ironic trend given that timber is arguably the most ancient of building materials. But new innovations in structural timber design have inspired a range of boundary-pushing plans for the age-old material, including everything from bridges to skyscrapers. Even more crucially, these designs are on the path to realization, acceding to building codes that many (mistakenly) view as restrictive to the point of impossibility.
The timber structures of today aren't just breaking records - they're doing it without breaking the rules.