How wood became a high-tech building material

Architecture Studio - Palazzo MeridiaAt a time where we talk about new materials, the arrival of printing 3D in the construction sector, a surprise material is currently operate a return to grace. This material is wood. Wood lathe projects multiply in the world as well as in France. Nice, Paris and Bordeaux have their Tower project, of which that of bordeaux who, with a height of 50 metres, will set a new record.

Wooden construction pushes its limits


To demonstrate the virtues of wood, the producer of Finnish wood Metsä Wood has imagine building the Empire States Building on a wood structure made of laminated veneer lumber.

Who would have thought it? The wood is trying to make a spectacular return to grace in the construction sector and not only for individual homes or small structures, but to build actual towers. That of Bordeaux will reach 50 metres in height, thus setting a new record. However this limit of 50 metres may well be quickly exceeded. Metsä Wood Finns have even studied the feasibility of rebuilding the Empire State Building in wood. A building of more than 380 m, it is for the moment only a study of style, but wooden buildings will multiply in the cities of the future.

Why architects today interested in this material that seems to come from the past then concrete or steel structures are commonly used to build ever more ambitious buildings? A newspaper article from the CNRS points the strengths of wood, especially since the appearance of wood cross-laminated CLT (cross-laminated timber). It’s a sandwich of glued planks perpendicular between them, a collage that allows to obtain a maximum sturdiness and thus create structures well higher than what it was possible to do until today.

Wood, a durable material and 100% natural

The Euro-Atlantic de Bordeaux Tower, under construction in Bordeaux will be one of the tallest towers of wood in the world.

The Euro-Atlantic de Bordeaux Tower, under construction in Bordeaux will be one of the tallest towers of wood in the world.

Compared to steel or concrete, wood has a number of advantages, especially at a time where the carbon footprint and recyclability are criteria most important for outsourcers. It is a key asset at a time of the RT 2012 and new environmental standards in the buildings sector.

But in addition to its original 100% natural wood offer many advantages in the eyes of the architects. It can be easily recycled, has a high resistance to weight. The CNRS stresses the qualities of the wood in areas where you might think low: resistance to fire, durability, wood presents undeniable qualities that make an advanced material… again.

Researchers today strive to characterize very precisely each wood species to builders offer a wide range of wood to use in their buildings. Each wood has characteristics which are specific and can be chosen to meet the various constraints of a building. Wood framing material or limited to the mountain cottages and houses of American suburbs, it will be soon of the past.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“Le bois, matériau de demain ?”, CNRS le journal, July 6, 2016

“Bordeaux Euratlantique : une deuxième tour en bois de 50 mètres sera construite”, Sud Ouest, March 14, 2016

“Bordeaux Euratlantique : la construction du grand immeuble en bois débute”, Sud Ouest, January 29, 2016

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