A recent Think Tank entitled “Working with Timber – New Possibilities for Design, Construction and Sustainability” brought experts from the design and timber industry together to discuss and celebrate this remarkable transformation. In the field sustainable architecture, wood is experiencing a renaissance, in the form of mass timber, which is finding growing acceptance as a structural building component. “Wood has been a revolution in the design and construction industry,” began Avinash Rajagopal, editor in chief of Metropolis and moderator of the conversation, which was hosted by DLR Group. Pete Kobelt, U.S. sales and business development manager for Element5, a mass timber manufacturer, averred that wood is a renewable resource — and then offered a dramatic example of just how renewable it is. He described two university buildings in Arkansas that used a total of 5 thousand cubic meters of structural wood. He went on to say that Arkansas, with its vast forests, is a state with 19 million acres of trees that grow 71 tons of wood fiber every 60 seconds. “In three hours, we could regrow the two buildings at the university,” he said. John Carmichael, vice president of New South Construction out of Atlanta, offered a quick anecdote about a multi-story Atlanta project whose base structure is mass timber. “I’ve been in this business for twenty years, and as this building was going up, I’ve never had so many people ask me about a project,” Carmichael said. “We had people stopping us in the streets, calling us; the reaction was always ‘Wow.'”
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Is Wood the Building Material of the Future?