img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Building smarter cities with wood

Urbanisation is one of the most significant issues facing humanity today

In association with

Urbanisation is one of the most significant issues facing humanity today. By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. Consequently, urban growth is fast outpacing the ability to build affordable and sustainable living space.

Cities all over the world are in dire need of new ways to house a rapidly growing urban population. Nowhere is this more evident than in the UK and in our capital city, where space is at a premium and housing the ever-growing population continues to pose a huge challenge.

One obvious yet often overlooked solution is to start building up, and stop tearing down. Utilising new modern timber materials such as Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumbar), enables several storeys to be constructed on top of existing structures. A building extension constructed with a timber frame can be a fast, sustainable and inexpensive solution.

Research shows that approximately a quarter of existing buildings are strong enough to carry additional floors made of wood. Moreover, it is the only material light enough to build quickly on to existing structures. This makes wood a highly promising building material for providing living space for billions of people – while also preserving the architectural heritage of our cities.

In the UK, building a million new homes by 2020 in order to meet the demand of the UK housing crisis requires innovative thinking and the need to explore new possibilities, such a hybrid construction, using a range of materials including steel, concrete, brick and timber.  

Through its Plan B project, Metsä Wood has been challenging the perception of architects, constructions engineers and builders as to what is possible with timber construction.

By challenging widely spread preconceptions, Plan B explores various possibilities of wood construction. As part of the project, Metsä Wood offers detailed examples of how to build recognizable, but modern versions of well known architectural buildings, such as the Empire State Building, using wood as the main material.

Metsä Wood also recently ran a competition, inviting architects to design timber structure extensions to existing urban buildings using Kerto LVL as the main material. Entries were submitted from 69 cities worldwide, including Sidney, Shanghai, New York, Berlin, Paris and London. The results were impressive, and all entries and winners can be seen here.

The Plan B project and competition is proving a catalyst for debate on sustainable and progressive cities worldwide. As such, RIBA Journal has invited key players in the fields of architecture, urban design and planning, engineering and the timber industry to take part in a roundtable debate, which will explore the challenges we face in urban design and construction and the role that wood has to play in the solution.

The ‘City Above the City’ roundtable debate will be reported in the May issue of the RIBA Journal.

For more information and technical support visit www.metsawood.com

 

Contact:

01205 362 461​​

uk@metsagroup.co.uk


 

Latest

How is the construction industry, and architecture in particular, responding to the ever-changing impacts of Covid-19 and the upcoming Brexit deadline? Adrian Malleson, head of economic research at RIBA, provides an overview

How is architecture responding to Covid-19 and Brexit?

Monica Pidgeon’s 1961 photograph of Palazzo del Lavoro by Pier Luigi Nervi and Gio Ponti shows the remarkable exhibition space in its prime

Palazzo del Lavoro in Turin by Pier Luigi Nervi, 1961

On 20 October 2020 RIBAJ and PiP were joined by a group of experts and architects to discuss innovative infrastructure projects that are improving the lives of communities

Catch up with the latest in a series of RIBAJ and PiP online discussions

A cosy insulated coat now wraps around Piers Taylor’s 16 year old timber and glass home extension, muffling up inner warmth and reorganising the marvellous views

Home’s insulating over-layer improves comfort and reframes views

MHCLG’s Christopher Pincher calls on architects to join planning consultation as part of government’s strategy to build homes with ‘beauty, quality and environment’ at their core

Architects key to our better plans says housing minister Pincher