Towards Mass Timber Architecture

Mass Timber: User’s Manual

Building with timber has proved that its characteristics have turned it into a relevant, versatile, and powerful material. Compared to other materials, timber generates fewer carbon emissions, and its life cycle assessment performs better.

“The reconfiguration of wood into high-performance products has recently been supplemented by digital fabrication techniques that facilitate the manufacture of almost any shape or form. Wood has many advantages over other building materials and numerous technological advances have expanded its use in a variety of applications, but it should be employed in applications that are best in keeping with its unique properties and strengths. Rather than emulating the forms of brick, steel, or concrete construction, contemporary solid timber construction needs to question conventional structural methodologies in order to develop its own tectonic language, with the potential of acquiring a new typology in its own right. While it does not offer an answer to every problem, wood can be employed sensibly alongside other building materials for the creation of safe, healthy, and more sustainable living and working environments, leading to the renewal and revitalization of cities around the world.”

Although new forest growth exceeds annual harvest rates, it is crucial to understand and therefore endeavor to monitor the long-term supply of timber sustainably towards a net-zero architecture.

As seen in previous examples, the approach that architects, designers, and specialists have to communicate with the rest of the society is by doing temporary pavilions, installations that are accessible for everyone. Through these interventions we might get closer to the user and therefore, change the way of seeing mass timber construction, in some cases pushing it to its limits.

However, the window for climate action is narrow and it seems obvious that the carbon held in forests and in mass timber buildings is an asset to develop, control and expand worldwide to lead us towards a mass timber architecture and therefore, a better world.

Conceptual Collage – Temporary pavilions elevations

Towards Mass Timber Architecture Narratives is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at MMTD in 2021/2022 by student Ricardo Cruz Recalde. Faculty: Daniel Ibáñez. CourseMMTD02 – Narratives 2