Mass timber key for low carbon future?

Friday 19 Apr 2024

Chinese temples have stood for centuries, battered by wind and earthquakes, without a crack or timber out of place. They employ an ancient technique called “bracket set construction” that requires no nails or metal parts to connect wooden structural elements. Scandinavian stave churches are nearly as durable. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of trees in Sweden and all over China.

So what is with the hype about innovation in “mass timber” construction over the past few years? As Boyce Thompson argues in his thoughtful new book,  Innovations in Mass Timber: Sequestering Carbon with Style in Commercial Buildings (Schiffer Publishing), this will be the next big thing in “green” tech for architects feeling guilty about their costly titanium skins and outsized carbon footprints. 

One project immediately stands out. Shigeru Ban, a Pritzker Prize–winning architect who builds with paper tubes when they can meet a tight budget, has given the Swatch watch company a zany headquarters made with large glulam timbers in a tube-like configuration that makes a translucent roof over concrete-frame offices. Since the majority of the construction appears to be conventionally non sustainable, are we looking at “greenwashing” here?

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Source: Common Edge

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