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


Monday, April 16, 2012

Great Designs in Wood (22) - The Hive of Worcester

Here's an interesting addition to our "Great Designs" collection. It falls in that category of "non-traditional" wood designs that may perhaps be the key to the future of wood-based construction.

The building is called "The Hive" and is a new library for University of Worcester, which promotes itself as the UK's "third greenest campus". The really interesting story here is that the building was originally designed as a steel and concrete structure, but the design team worked to change the design to a wood-framed building by utilizing glulam beams and panels, which they claim saved 2000 tons of CO2 emissions over the original design...a feature that fits perfectly with the University's carbon-management objectives.

The result is an ultra-modern structure which exhibits the clean lines, both inside and out, of modern architecture, while capturing the intrinsic values of wood utilization.

"The Hive which will open in July is the UK’s first purpose-built joint-use library serving the University of Worcester and the county that incorporates the county archive, a local history centre, accommodation for the County Archaeologist’s team and a ‘one stop shop’ for the local authority: It’s a pioneering response to the challenge of providing a wide range of public services in an age of austerity whilst promoting social and environmental sustainability.

Visit this site to see and read more about the library, set to open this summer.

One interesting side note about the project is found in the comments on the site. Once again, as we saw in the post on the Metropol Parasol in Spain, there seems to be considerable criticism of the project, partially directed at the modern architecture itself, and partially directed at the cost of the building in difficult economic times. I found it interesting in the quote above that the designers cite "an age of austerity" in the promotion of the design. That may be a great marketing angle for wooden the buildings of choice in an austere age.

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