The Viability of Timber Extensions on Existing Structures

Esin Zeynep Aydemir


Fig.1 Conceptual collage


It is agreed that in order to reduce carbon emissions, the best option is not to build at all. While true, it is not plausible. According to the UN, the world population is expected to increase by two billion in the next 30 years. This means, if nothing else, there will continue to be a growing demand for housing and in order to meet these demands the next best option is to add, enhance, or repurpose existing structures using timber construction materials.

As a construction material, the durability, sustainability, relative lightweight, compatibility with prefabrication techniques, and relatively quick construction make wood preferable as a material to add, enhance, or repurpose existing structures. As a construction method, mass timber reduces the overall carbon footprint of new constructions while delivering the ability to meet the demands of a growing population. This building strategy is uniquely suited to make the best use of existing structures.

Most new timber constructions have reinforced concrete foundations and in some cases ground floor walls. By utilizing an existing structure, the use of new concrete, steel, brick, stone, et cetera is reduced. This strategy encourages the industry to restore, renovate, and reuse existing structures in order to extend the service life of buildings, therefore, promoting a circular economy.  

Though timber rooftop additions are a growing trend in Europe and the Americas, the use of timber to enhance existing structures need not be limited. Other potential options could make use of intermediate floors in large buildings, or unused space in backyards or between buildings.

Enhancement and repurposing of existing structures using mass timber is a relatively new concept. This paper examines the advantages of this new mass timber concept through the following examples; Trikåfabriken (TENGBOM, Sweden), Grüntenstrasse, Augsburg (Lattke Arkitekts, Germany) Sideyard, Oregon (Skylab,USA) Treehouses Bebelallee (Blauraum, Germany), Nanotronics Smart Factory (Rogers Partner, USA).

#Masstimber #Timber-on-top #CLT #Timberextensions #Lightweight


Fig.2 Conceptual collage


AUGMENTING WITH TIMBER – Narratives is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at MMTD in 2021/2022 by student Esin Zeynep Aydemir Faculty: Daniel Ibáñez. Course: MMTD01 – Narratives