Natural wood, that fine material par excellence that tries to break free from erroneous stereotypes and dogmas that brand it a non-durable and weak product. Putting these beliefs aside, we not only find wood to be a robust and hard-wearing material, but also a warm and sustainable one.
This is why it has emerged in recent years as an architectural challenge in building construction. As a primary construction element, this material provides architectural alternatives and is also a great ally of nature and the environment.
With a rising number of projects being carried out in this field, we see several prominent examples, including the building of a student residence in the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. This building stands 53 metres high and is divided into 18 floors for housing up to 400 students.
Similarly, another most outstanding project completed with natural wood can be found in Bergen, Norway. This is a 14-storey building that rises to a height of 49 metres. This architectural project was launched in 2015, with a capacity for 62 apartments inside. The columns, of laminated wood and one meter thick, provide the main supports for this building.
Today, there are now many buildings which have the sustainable and hard-wearing qualities of natural wood. Melbourne and London provide us with two examples: the Forté and Stadhaus N1 projects respectively. In both structures, solid timber is the main protagonist responsible for erecting these projects which reach heights of around 30 metres.
However, with this material as the predominant element, constant movements in architecture and the excellent qualities of natural wood will have an impact on the approaches adopted by various projects in years to come. Undoubtedly the most famous case is the impressive structure being proposed in Japan. A building which aims to surpass all targets achieved thus far in the construction of buildings with natural wood.
The thrust of the project, known as W350, will try to reach 70 storeys in height. To achieve this, the building will consist of 10% steel and up to 90% wood. This vast majority of this construction is expected to be built with natural wood; however, trees and vegetation will be put in place in each one of the floors.
This is a challenge for natural wood which continues to demonstrate, on a daily basis, its excellent qualities in projects already built and in others still to come. Now all that remains for us to do is enjoy the fantastic qualities that this fine material provides us with, which are being fulfilled in these architectural works.