timber construction

Wood is the material of the 21st century. It is light, natural, easily adaptable, has a reasonable insulation value and it stores CO2 instead of emitting it like concrete. Will we still have window frames? Or will they become an integral part of the wall?

Wood is both a traditional building material and relatively new when we use it for construction components. Thanks to new techniques, including CLT (cross-laminated timber), even types of wood that were formerly regarded as poor quality, such as poplar, prove to be excellent building materials for walls, façades and more.

At first glance, construction costs in wood appear to be higher. But, by integrating the qualities and properties of the material into the design process early on, they can be better utilised. In doing this, the construction costs also become more realistic. You simply build a wooden building in a different way from a building made of concrete or steel – for example, with other grid sizes and by making a separate frame superfluous. We like to work from the quality of a material. That suits us very well as an agency.

We have already made a wooden station and a villa with a solid oak façade on the island of Schiermonnikoog. An urban development plan with wooden buildings is under construction in Bremen. As is a neighbourhood pavilion in Meerstad. At the same time, we’re working on a wooden head office in Amsterdam and a wooden tower in Rotterdam, as an addition to an existing high-rise complex.

In addition, the benefits of wood must be seen in a larger context. Using new techniques, more can be prefabricated, resulting in fewer errors and less construction nuisance, thanks to shorter construction times. Prefab also offers scope for customisation. Recesses and pipes can be milled in at the exact location. As when printing a page, each element can be different, without too much hassle. There are already all kinds of products with which acoustics and pipe routes can be built in. In addition, wood requires less finishing. It is a warm and breathable material, which makes rooms healthier. And in the usage phase it is easier to adjust or hang something. Ever tried to hang a painting on a concrete wall?

At the same time, not everything has to be made of wood. Wood is less suitable for some applications. For example, in places with a lot of moisture, such as foundations and façade cladding. It is fine to build in wood up to about six to eight layers. It gets a lot more complicated above that. There are still challenges too in terms of sound insulation between houses. It will take some time to discover all the advantages of timber construction. What are its distinctive qualities, and what is less advantageous? De Zwarte Hond is happy to help with this.

>> see also making and sustainability