The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Great Designs in Wood (9)

Kevin Cheung of the Western Wood Products Association wrote to remind me that the Great 21st-century Wood Renaissance is just not a European phenomenon. Architects here in North America are also coming to recognize the value and durability of wood.

Kevin wrote this excellent technical article that details specific building code revisions that recognize the superior performance of engineered wood products and systems and their applicability. The article also references and has pictures of projects in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. There seems to be a preference here for building the wooden superstructure on top of a concrete parking garage/foundation, or for wrapping the wooden structure around a concrete parking garage base. The buildings are currently limited to four, five, or six storys in height, according to which code designation they comply.

We can assume that higher population densities in our future caused by increasing zoning ordinances and fuel prices will encourage our architects to push the limits of wood engineering and design even further. That will be something to watch for.

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