Our wooden style architecture
Without woods and forests, life as we know it would not exist. Trees make the air we breathe, shelter us from the elements and provide livelihood for millions of people. For thousands of years, humans have been using wood to construct their homes and buildings, from the smallest shacks to the loftiest palaces. And while more modern edifices are often made of concrete or steel, wood is starting to make a comeback as people rediscover the many benefits of one of humanity’s oldest building materials.
With that in mind, let’s take a look in more detail at wooden style architecture.
The benefits of wood
For many people, wood is the poor cousin of stone and steel. It doesn’t last as long, is not as strong and is more likely to burn. But there are also a great deal of advantages to building with wood. One key benefit is its superior insulation when compared with other construction materials. Steel, for example, conducts heat a massive 1650 times quicker than wood! Timber also transfers heat more efficiently, meaning that a wooden house is cooler in summer, warmer in winter and cheaper to heat.
Another benefit of wood is that it is cost effective and cheap to build and maintain. And unlike building with brick and steel, timber houses can be constructed in all kinds of weather conditions, including strong wind, heavy rain or even during a blizzard!
Wood is also environmentally friendly, durable and, when managed correctly, completely sustainable. And its low cost and versatility makes it the perfect building material in every home.
Wooden structures around the world
When people think of wooden architecture, they often think of traditional style buildings, like Japan’s Horyu Temple, which was first constructed in 1607. In Europe, Britain’s Greensted Church has been providing religious services for over 1200 years. Kirkjubøargarður, a farmhouse in the Faroe Islands, has been continuously inhabited for nearly as long.
But wooden architecture doesn’t have to be traditional. Superior Dome, home to the Northern Michigan Wildcats is anything but. Constructed from 781 beams of Douglas Fir, it is the biggest wooden dome in the world. And Andalucia’s gigantic Metropol Parasol, which houses museums, markets and a panoramic viewing area, covers more than 136,000 square feet in the downtown area of Seville.
Back to the future
After centuries of being overlooked by more modern building materials, timber is now enjoying a second coming. Advances in technology are paving the way forwards for a material that will revolutionize construction in the 21st Century. And that material is wood.
Cross-laminated timber, normally known as CLT, is a new method of building that allows architects to construct wooden buildings that would have been impossible just a few years ago. Forte, an Australian apartment block, shows what can be done with this new technique. Created from thousands of flat packed panels, the building can be constructed much more quickly than brick or steel structures. With its innovative and efficient design, residents could save around $300 a year on their energy bills. Similar buildings are being constructed around the world and a skyscraper made from wood could be just round the corner.
Of course, there are thousands of beautiful buildings made from stone, brick and marble. But for versatility, sustainability and sheer aesthetics, wood is hard to beat.