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


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Great Designs in Wood (46) - The Commercial Wood Building

I recently was asked by Keith Craig, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, to participate in a booth presentation for the Keystone Wood Products Association at an upcoming Green Building Expo in Philadelphia. In asking, Keith mentioned that there was considerable concern that the steel and concrete industries are continuing, and perhaps even increasing, to put out misinformation about the green qualities of wood as a construction material.

My immediate thought was that this is a good sign. When your competition isn't concerned about you, they just ignore you. It's when they understand that you're making headway that they really begin to fight back. And in this case, trying to convince people that steel and concrete are "greener" than wood is sure to foster more discussion about the comparisons, and these discussions will always result in wood coming out as the green alternative. Architect Michael Green from Vancouver is at the forefront of making architects and engineers, and perhaps more importantly, policy leaders, reconsider wood in their future projects.

Mr. Green and his collaborating engineering firm recently broke ground on what will be, at least temporarily, North America's tallest wood building. These thoughts, and projects, are being echoed by design leaders the world around. The following series of videos from naturally:wood on projects in Europe illustrate that we are on the brink of a tremendous renaissance of wood building.

I put this one first because it demonstrates the dynamic flexibility in design that solid wood and glulam offer the architect. The role of advanced machining technology, and the role it plays in unique wood structures, is highlighted in the video.

The next video features a perhaps less glamorous, but potentially even more profitable sector for wood in construction - retail. The narrator comments on studies that show that people linger longer in wooden buildings, and that is a great thing and tangible value to retailers.

Wood is good now, has always been good, and people are starting to get it. Keith, I have a feeling we're going to have a lot of interest in the KWPA booth at that Green Build Expo.

No comments: