If we made 90% of our new buildings from wood, we could reduce our global CO2 emissions and improve our wellbeing, Tom Heap explains.
Monocle 24 ‘Tall Stories’: We visit the headquarters of the Tokyo timber wholesalers’ association, a building that “walks the walk” with its impressive wooden construction.
This project involved the relocation of the offices of the Association of Wood Wholesalers in Tokyo. It serves as a showcase to demonstrate the possibilities of wood as an urban construction material. Engawa, or Japanese terraces, allow a natural breeze to enter while shutting out strong sunlight for a comfortable indoor environment. Lumber were integrated into the building’s structure, and architectural exposed concrete was cast in cedar formwork. Since the building uses a large amount of wood, great attention was given to fire safety measures. The design focused on creating spatial continuity with the use of layering and natural light.
This book explores the innovative and inspiring ways architects are using this universal building material. Spanning grand Alpine escapes to tropical getaways, plywood penthouses to mass timber high-rises, Out of the Woods documents their progressive and inspiring creations from the foundations up.
Humans have been building homes from wood for thousands of years, and yet, in a contemporary world of option and innovation, the most primitive resource could in fact be the most pertinent.
Stretching back to historic Japanese houses, becoming synonymous with resort accommodation, and intertwining itself in the modern trend of hygge, its tactility and warmth have influenced countless architectural design movements. Timber is fast emerging as a viable material of choice, a safe, sturdy, and sustainable alternative to concrete. Architects are rediscovering wood’s universal appeal, thanks to recent technological advances.
Woodnest – Up in the air
The steep forested hillsides around the Hardangerfjord above Odda, is the location of two Woodnest treehouses. The architecture is a specific response to the topography and conditions of the site itself. Inextricably crafted from nature, each treehouse is suspended 5-6m above the forest floor and fastened with a steel collar to the individual trunk of a living pine tree.
The journey to the site begins with the 20minute walk from the town of Odda, on the edge of the fjord and up through the forest via a steep winding path. Each treehouse is accessed via a small timber bridge, leading the visitor off the ground, into the structure and up in to the tree.
At just 15m2, carefully organized inside around the central tree trunk itself are four sleeping places, a bathroom, a kitchen area and a living space. From here one can lookout and experience the vast view out through the trees, down to the fjord below and across towards the mountains beyond.
At the very core of the project is the appreciation of timber as a building material. Inspired by the Norwegian cultural traditions of vernacular timber architecture, together with a desire to experiment with the material potential of wood, the architecture is structurally supported by the tree trunk itself, and formed from a series of radial glu-laminated timber ribs. The untreated natural timber shingles encase the volume creating a protective skin around the building, which will weather over time to merge and blend with the natural patina of the surrounding forest.
This new district of Helsinki is being made almost entirely from timber, quite literally taking wooden construction in Finland’s capital to new heights. Discover how Solibri’s software is de-risking similar construction projects worldwide.
From reception pavilion to proper house, 2m26’s houses are unique pieces. They are produced made to measure, on demand. They absolutely fit to the landscape. The houses are made of pine planks, rough cuted. The structure is protected with linseed oil to resist to weather conditions and walnut stain can be added to obtain a dark color.
The building process / prefab gives the opportunity to prepare all the pieces at the Atelier. Moreover, it reduces on site time of construction, damages on plants and minimizes noise pollution. On site construction can be scheduled from a week to a month.
Techniques used are mostly cutting, drilling, screwing, so that the assembly work can be done together with the customer, reducing costs for him.
About 2m26: Born in 2015, 2m26 summarizes ten years of researches and experiments about inhabiting.
Proceeding between design and architecture, 2m26 offers tools for living / handmade, thrifty and luxury / unique pieces designed and produced on demand / raw materials, natural processings and mastered development / simple, handsome and functional.
The crew :
mélanie heresbach / artist / architect.
sébastien renauld / artist / architect.
In 1928 Maruni Wood Industry was born out of a fascination with the masterful carpentry in ancient shrines. Today its furniture is found in the Californian headquarters of Apple as well as airport lounges, galleries and restaurants around the world. We meet the company’s president to talk about the challenges of managing a family-run business.
Pioneering the industrial application of craft skills following establishment of the company in 1928
From building structures such as Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines through to private dwellings and the tools that we use in our everyday lives, Japan is a nation that has for many centuries cultivated traditions based on wood that occupy an important position in our daily lives. Takeo Yamanaka, the founder of Maruni Wood Industry, spent his childhood at Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture, a place that has a rich heritage of traditional crafts based on the use of wood.
From an Interactiongreen.com online release:
…the Yō no Ie re-imagines a life in suburban-rural areas, rather than urban-suburban. This reflects quiet yet significant social changes – or rather, shifts in life priorities of people and how they define happiness. In the 20th century, when society was excited about economic growth, everyone dreamed of living in cities, working at big companies by navigating a world of fierce competition, either spending an eye-popping amount of money on a small urban condo that quickly became a norm, or traveling hours to commute from a more affordable home in rapidly sprawling suburbs.
MUJI House released the “陽の家 (Yō no Ie, or Sun House)” in September, 2019, its 4th product since it debuted the “木の家 (Ki no ie, or Wood House) in 2004. Upon the release, they opened its model house at a glamping site called “Forest Living” in Isumi-City, Chiba which is about a 2-hour drive from Tokyo.