Last edited 14 Dec 2017

Wood in Architecture

Contents

Introduction

Wood is a versatile and cost-effective material used in a huge variety of applications and situations. There are a number of benefits to using wood in architecture, and so there are many different varieties of the material used in many structures.

Benefits of wood

There benefits associated with the use of wood in the construction and architecture include wood being:

Renewable

Awareness has grown of the importance of using renewable materials in all areas of life, including construction and architecture. Wood is a renewable material and uses less energy and resources to process compared to many other building materials. As wood has the capacity to store and remove CO2 from the atmosphere, it can have a particularly beneficial impact on the environment.

Strong

It is no accident that wood has been used in construction for thousands of years. It is an incredibly durable material and can provide a strong structure for buildings. Wood can actually be better at supporting its own weight than other materials such as steel.

Efficient

It is an excellent insulator, and can be built faster than many other materials.

Wooden structures

There are numerous examples of innovative and interesting wooden structures, including:

  • SunnyHills, Japan. This cake shop in Tokyo, Japan is an excellent example of innovative architecture using wood. The structure was designed by Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma and is formed from 5,000 m of wooden strips which wrap around the three-storey building creating a lattice effect. The structure is reminiscent of a bamboo basket and was created using the Jiigokugumi technique which fits the slats together with the use of glue or nails.
  • Tamedia Office Building, Switzerland. The seven-storey building in Zurich, Switzerland uses timber in an innovative way to create a stylish yet sustainable building. The wood is well and truly on display to passers by, but the incredible part of the building is inside where the design has created thermal barriers, allowing for the heating and cooling of the space through the extraction of air.
  • Forté, Australia, This apartment building is constructed from cross laminated timber and stands at 32.2 m tall. It is estimated that the wood in the building will store 761 tonnes of CO2, making it a fantastic benefit to the environment.

Types of wood in architecture

Many different types of wood can be used in construction and architecture, however, there are some types that have proved to be more popular for their beneficial properties, including:

  • Timber – a durable and hard-wearing wood which is easy to work with.
  • Cedar – a dense and lightweight wood which is resistant to decay.
  • Pine – an attractive wood which is also inexpensive.
  • Oak – a durable wood which is resistant to insect damage.

Conclusion

Wood has been a popular construction material for thousands of years, and it seems as though it is becoming more popular as we become more aware of the impact of other building materials on the environment.

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--G&S Specialist Timber 16:53, 06 Dec 2017 (BST)