Modern, large-volume, urban building with wood

Wood has acquired an importance as a building material that only a few years ago would have been unimaginable. One of humankind’s oldest building materials shows off a completely new aesthetic and, in occupying brand new dimensions, manages to conquer the urban landscape too.

International examples of architecture as part of the road show WOOD. BUILDING THE FUTURE unveils the breadth of contemporary wooden constructions.


For a comparative ecological assessment, three buildings have been chosen in which wood is the primary supporting structure. Analogously, a “standard version” was calculated using conventional buildingmaterials. The building is evaluated over an observation period of 50 years comprising the phases of production, maintenance and disposal. The same key performance indicators are assumed for the energy supply.

The new building process

“Manual prefabrication”, a traditional process in timber construction, is also an important basis for the sustainability of the building material timber. Fast, clean and noise-free assembly as well as high quality of workmanship due to controlled, weather-independent processes in the workshop are important competitive advantages.

The influence of IT

The tectonics of wooden architecture is increasingly liberating itself from the corset of the straight bar and of the right angle. With the aid of modern computer programs, completely new, complex forms can be developed today. In the workshops there are digitally controlled machines, with the aid of which it is possible to produce also unusually shaped components economically.

Building amidst existing structures

Adapting our stock of buildings ecologically, functionally, energetically and aesthetically to today’s requirements is a central challenge of the future. Carrying out the building measures in a residential area as quickly as possible and in a way that is as noisefree as possible requires a high degree of prefabrication, low weight of the components as well as a dry, clean building technique. Timber fulfils these requirements like no other building material.

Potentials and limitations

Wood can be used for larger dimensions witout any difficulties. However, the prejudices and knowledge deficits of clients, authorities and planners prevent an increased use of the building material in this area. Where are the limits, which widths can be bridged, to which heights can be built up to? Its extraordinary load-bearing capacity and pliability, its low weight and the new production technologies predestine wood for large spatial experiments.

Familiar Material – New Aesthetic

In our cultural area the image of timber constructions is influenced by the traditional architecture of farmhouses, historic timber-framed buildings and the cliché of an old-fashioned, comfortable material. However, modern timber construction paints a completely different picture. Technologically the way has been paved for the return of the building material that has been ousted from the town for a long time and whose diversity promotes a new inclusion in the urban context.