Diagram illustrating the transect of woods



In which way can the use of diverse wood or wood-based construction materials, affect the sustainability of a project? What can be perceived as the transect of woods? How are the physical & mechanical properties of each species, connected with designing a mass timber building? The contribution of multiple woods as construction materials, to a more sustainable solution, for all the different scales of a project, is being explored.

A transect, in the world of science, is a “line” across a habitat that is being studied. The idea of the transect of woods is being used, firstly, to indicate the benefits of constructing with multiple wood species, not only on the building itself but also on the whole natural ecosystem that this is part of. Secondly, with this tool, it is highlighted that the “area of intervention” when designing a timber building apart from the specific site, is the whole ecological path that connects the identifiable geographic source of each species and all the associated means of processing with the final receptor, the building and the cities as a result.

The idea of specifying a building with multiple species, contributes to the creation of more biodiverse forests and also reveals many possibilities for the careful selection of materials that are suitable for the specific part of the structure. Timber is a versatile structural material. Many softwoods & hardwoods are indicated for construction materials, considering their physical and mechanical properties. Each piece can add a huge value on project’s final result, in many ways.

In order to understand better the scope of all the aforementioned factors, the case study of Common Ground Highschool in New Haven by Gray Organschi Architects, will be studied, which is one the pioneer buildings in terms of the exploitation of all the structural capacities and ecological benefits of wood.

Diagram illustrating the meeting of species in the urban fabric

The transect of woods  is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
developed at Master in Mass Timber Design in 2021/2022 by:
Student: Eirini Doumani-Korka
Faculty: Daniel Ibanez