Wood use in the modern architecture – how to improve our lives and the environment

Wood use in the modern architecture – how to improve our lives and the environment

Given the climatic emergency that we are experiencing, and the growing social awareness of the need to care for the environment, in the last years architects are searching new and low impact solutions, more adequate construction systems that we hope to see implemented more and more often in the near future.  In the last years in Spain a new type of buildings are slowly taking over, as a symbol of hope that a different way of building (and living) is possible: the CLT system! Born in the 1990s in Austria and Germany, the system seems to be spreading around the world.

CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) is a system that uses solid wood panels made up of layers of lumber boards stacked crosswise and glued into place. The cross laminated panels feature a symmetrical transversal structure comprising at least three layers, guaranteeing their rigidity as a structural material. This system allows faster assembly time and minimizes the necessary working power on site. Experts highlight the precision of the construction with the CLT plywood system, since the manufacture of the panels in the workshop enables a millimeter calculation of the dimensions that avoids unforeseen events, unlike the construction materials forged on site.

Furthermore, the insulating quality of wood in facades allows significant energy savings in both heating and air conditioning, bringing wooden buildings closer to almost zero consumption (concept of the so-called “passivhouse”).

The CLT is a renewable product that, instead of producing CO2 emissions during its production process, what it does is absorb that greenhouse gas. Thus, wooden buildings in cities achieve a neutral, if not positive, balance in terms of emissions.But architects have more reasons to adore it as CLT is a very appropriate technical material for the construction of tall buildings –even skyscrapers and allows its weight to be reduced by between 30 and 40% compared to traditional buildings. Composed of sheets or layers of wood crossed with each other, and glued with fire resistant adhesives, this material withstands high temperatures better than steel.

The construction of tall buildings with wooden structures is not only an excellent option to fight climate change and improve the comfort of people living in cities, but it is a highly valued trend among architects and urban planners. As an example, the La Borda building in Barcelona has obtained the 2019 BBConstrumat Architecture Prize in the Constructed Work category. This award rewards the work of architecture, urban planning and civil works, of a new plant or of intervention in existing constructions, based on innovation, sustainability, quality, technical excellence or social impact.

For further detail visit the following webpages:

YouTube video: building process with English subtitles:

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