Unconventional Thinking Helps Architects and Engineers 'Find the Forest Through the Trees'
Guests at the Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards were not only witness to an inspirational evening of innovative wood design, but also the first to hear an announcement made by MichaelGiroux, President of the Canadian Wood Council (CWC), regarding the release of the highly-anticipated feasibility study, The Case for Tall Wood Buildings. Revolutionizing the way the building community designs and implements structures, the more than 200 page document delves into society's shifting thought process, recognizing that issues such as climate change and increased housing demands as part of urban intensification are no longer notions but, represent new realities that need to be addressed. The study encourages architects, engineers and designers to push the envelope of conventional thinking about wood construction and inspires them to expand this discussion so that wood is positioned as the driving force behind a systematic change for the building industry - one with environmental, economic and common sense benefits.
The Case for Tall Wood Buildings was commissioned by CWC on behalf of the Wood Enterprise Coalition (a partnership of Wood WORKS! BC, FPInnovations, and BC Wood Specialties), with support from Forestry Innovation Investment, and prepared by mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN, Equilibrium Consulting, LMDG Ltd, and BTY Group. The report represents the views of the many interviewed developers/marketing groups/contractors/fire chiefs/ building authorities, and introduces a new construction model for tall buildings which utilizes mass timber panels - the concept is referred to as 'Finding the Forest Through the Trees' (FFTT). "We selected the name to acknowledge the scale of the challenge facing the world today," explains Michael Green, Principal at Michael Green Architecture, formerly Principal at mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN and co-author of the report. "To slow and contain greenhouse gas emissions and find truly sustainable solutions to building, we must look at the fundamentals of the way we build - from the bones of large urban building structures to the details of energy performance. We need to search for the big picture solutions of today's vast climate, environmental, economic and world housing needs."
The FFTT model represents the first significant challenge to the predominant use of concrete and steel in tall building design since their adoption into daily use more than a century ago. Looking to refresh our current way of thinking about wood in tall building design and construction, The Case for Tall Wood Buildings is driven by the desire to find safe, carbon-neutral and sustainable alternatives to the current structural materials used in urban society.
While The Case for Tall Wood Buildings is positioned as a feasibility study, it's hoped that FFTTrepresents a new way of thinking that will inspire significant shifts in the way buildings and construction are approached. "In North America, and more specifically, in Canada, we harvest a small portion of our renewable forest potential each year," suggests J. Eric Karsh, Principal at Equilibrium Consulting and co-author of the report. "As architects and engineers, we have the ability to shape the future of our built environment through innovation, and it is now our joint responsibility to ensure that change is directed towards solutions with lighter climate impact. We hope that this report demonstrates that wood is a viable material for tall and large buildings alike - causing us to abandon false misconceptions surrounding its performance and embrace the realities of its many benefits."
To read a copy of the report please visit:http://wecbc.smallboxcms.com/database/rte/files/Tall%20Wood.pdf (29 MB download)
The Canadian Wood Council CWC is the national association representing manufacturers of Canadian wood products used in construction - enabling the selling of Canadian wood products through programs and services focused on creating market access and demand. Wood WORKS! BC is a national industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council, with a goal to support innovation and provide leadership on the use of wood and wood products.