The use of mass timber, an engineered timber product, supports innovative, flexible design as well as having impeccable sustainability credentials. It is being increasingly used not just in Northern Europe, which has a long tradition in using wood in building, but in other countries in Europe and beyond.
Faster construction times and less deliveries, thanks to the use of offsite, modular methods of construction make timber attractive, as well as its environmental credentials. The potential of mass timber is explored in special section in the June edition of Real Asset Impact magazine.
In an interview, pioneer architect Anthony Thistleton of Waugh Thistleton Architects, says that progress is constantly being made to improve its performance. His practice has been devoted to achieving sustainability and materially reducing the impact of both energy use and embodied energy in construction.
Research and innovation have played a key role in making wood stronger and safer to use. “The emergence of engineered timber has allowed us to create this new architecture,” he said. “We’re just at the beginning of its development. In future there will be new composite materials and new ways of engineering the timber.”
In another interview on the subject in the magazine Pertti Vanhanen, Managing Director, Cromwell Property Group, said that “everyone knows that timber is the most environmentally friendly of materials, more inspiring as well as healthier”.
The challenge is educating people about the qualities of timber throughout the entire building life cycle and the advances that have been made. Using more mass timber will massively reduce the use of steel, concrete and other non-environmentally friendly materials and lead to more trees being planted. Vanhanen also pointed out that timber, if properly maintained, lasts longer than concrete or steel.
One of his main initiatives at Cromwell has been the Pan-European Wooden Building Fund joint venture with Dasos Capital established last year, which is planning its first closing in the coming months and targeting €1 billion and beyond.
You can download the new edition of Real Asset Impact to read the full feature on timber.