Purpose Of Harvesting Timber

Every year at Valldaura Labs, during harvesting week, logging professionals assist students in selecting, locating and felling pine trees of the Pinus radiata variety. This procedure, which allows overcrowded and shadowed oak trees to re-emerge among the pine canopy, promotes the re-establishment of the historic oak forest one which harbors greater biodiversity than the existing landscape. The timber harvested is then processed and prepared for its use in the construction of the MAEBB final 1:1 prototype at the beginning of the following Summer.

Pinus radiata

The Process Involves –


The process begins with walking around the Collserola Park and finding potential pine trees. A total of 70 pine trees will be processed in Valldaura Labs this year, of which 54 were harvested within 3 zones around the property and another 16 were brought in from a local provider to supplement our construction needs. The trees are numbered in order based on location and accessibility, and yellow posts are placed near them for location purposes.

Locating trees

Numbering trees


While cutting a tree, the biggest concern is where it will fall. To ensure a controlled fall the lumberjacks first cut a 45 degree wedge or “hinge” into the tree in the direction they would like it to fall. After this wedge is removed, the final cut is made directly opposite to the first one after which the tree will fall naturally.

Making the 45 degree cut

Cleaning the branches









After cutting, each tree is given a unique color code whereby no two trees share the same color combination, this is extremely important as it will allow the students today and in the future to know the origin of the trees and how to better manage the forest as a whole. As one group of students sprays the freshly cut base of the tree, others record their color combination, circumference and geo-location for traceability and specificaton purposes.



The next phase is transportation. First, students use a specialized tractor, wrap a chain around the base of the tree and drag the trees up the slope from their original location to the main road. From there, the trees are transported to the processing yard where the next two steps of cleaning and cutting into standardized boards take place.

Tree trunks in the backyard of Valldaura Labs


With the help of a forklift the timber goes through cleaning and then cutting. The students use a power hose to clean the trunks before they enter the cutting machine thereby avoiding stones and mud from damaging the blades.



After the trunks are washed they are transported to a large horizontal band-saw where they are cut into 3.5cm thick boards. The process begins by securing the trunk to the band-saw’s metal frame to avoid it from tumbling during the cut. The first layer of the trunk is removed to achieve a flat base after which it is turned over and cut into boards. Once the sheets are cut they are transported to the drying station where they will slow-dry until construction begins.

Storing of sheets

Cutting the sheets









This document is a process of harvesting timber @ IAAC, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, developed in the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MABB01) 2021/22 .

Students: Prachi Agarwal, Roshni Shah, , Iletutu Awosika, Anton Hofstadt, Prasidh Choudhary and  Kshitij Sarote .