An Old Resource May Unlock the Future of Architecture

Timber has always been a reliable material for builders. Its pliability, buoyancy and strength gives wood a diverse set of uses from home building to travel. For hundreds of years it was the substance of choice among architects and builders alike. As society modernized and stronger yet more flexible materials were more easily accessible, wood infrastructure dwindled, especially in public and commercial buildings.

However, as a design element, wood has remained popular and thanks to sustainable foresting practices, has risen to the forefront of many architects’ palettes once again.

Today we take a look at some of the ways architects are implementing timber into their designs in a responsible manner, but also in a way that creates a stunning presentation.

Sustainable wood is timber that comes from a sustainably managed forest. This means that the forest is replenished and refilled with new trees when lumber is removed. This maintains the ecosystem of the area and ensures that lumber is managed responsibly.

Popular types of sustainable wood include bamboo, oak, teak, mahogany, and the Douglass fir.

It was announced on Aug. 21 that the state of Oregon has legalized mass timber high-rises. In doing so, it became the first in the United States to approve such a measure.

Timber is an energy efficient material, making it a popular choice among architects who are designing structures seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and perhaps earn LEED certification from the United States Green Building Council.

Just because wood is among mankind’s first building materials, that does not mean it can not represent some of the most modern designs in all of architecture. This hotel is proof of that.

Office buildings are among the most forward thinking entities when it comes to energy efficiency and design. Timber is expected to continue to play a significant role in reducing carbon footprints, while increasing curb appeal.

Timber will never be as strong as steel and metal. This poses some logistical problems surrounding building safety codes. It remains to be seen to what extent buildings can implement wood without adding risk.

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