Challenging the perceptions of timber

09 March 2016 by Matt Trace in Construction/Architectural

Challenging the perceptions of timber

Environmentally friendly, easy to work with, adaptable, and extremely cost effective – these were just some of the major benefits of working with modern engineered timber, as defined by some of the UK’s leading architects, at a recent event hosted by London South Bank University (LSBU).

The ‘Urban Wood: An Alternative Architecture’ event was attended by more than 100 practitioners, as well as architecture students and professors, in a collaborative project between Metsä Wood and LSBU. The purpose of the event was to present and discuss alternatives to preferred materials, such as concrete, steel and brick. 

The event also marked the launch of an innovative design project between Metsä Wood and architectural students at LSBU. Students have been challenged to identify how timber, (as a more cost effective and flexible building material), could be used to restore old or iconic buildings in London. The idea being that communities can be cost effectively refurbished rather than torn down and rebuilt from scratch. 

The project is designed to challenge perceptions of the next generation of architects so that timber is seen as a true alternative in everything from structures to exteriors and its potential for the city buildings of the future. Students will present their designs in June, with Metsä Wood awarding a prize for the winning concept.

The thought provoking seminar began with a brief introduction from Metsä Wood’s Head of Technical, Engineering and Design, Frank Werling, who presented some of the types of modern engineered timber materials available, including the innovative KERTO® Laminated Veneer Lumbar (LVL) range, I-BEAM Joists and Glulam beams. Werling spoke of the innovative Plan B project and how Metsä Wood is re-imagining famous architectural designs, including the Empire State Building, the Reichstag and the Coliseum, explaining how these iconic buildings could be constructed using modern day engineered wood.

Guest speakers included Jon Broome (Jon Broome Architects), Andrew Waugh (Waugh Thistleton), and Professor Alex de Rijke (dRMM Architects). These industry-leading architects presented how engineered wood is being used in some of their most innovative projects and how this sustainable, flexible and cost effective material is becoming more widely adopted in modern day construction.