Wood in architecture


June 1, 2021



After almost two decades working as an architect specialized in wood, I have detected a series of concerns common to most of the clients, as well as a multitude of fears and “legends” that can only be justified in the lack of knowledge of the material.

Wood, as a building material, is the oldest of those used today and its durability has not been surpassed by any other material to date. Despite these objective assessments, wood is the construction material that continues to generate the most distrust, and not only among potential users, but also among technicians themselves.

The rejection of wood architecture or the classification of constructions made with this material as “provisional” or “worse quality” is frequent, without going to assess their true architectural, constructive, spatial, structural or sustainability qualities, which should be criteria of greater weight when judging the quality of buildings. One of the purposes of this blog is to share my experiences as an architect specialized in wood, which have led me to be a stalwart of such a noble material.

I intend to seriously analyze and from technical and objective criteria, the use of wood in architecture, especially with structural functions. In recent decades, enormous progress has been made in research on wood derivatives (glued, micro-laminated, CLT, etc.) and the industry offers more and more materials at the service of architecture. Regulations and computer programs also continue to evolve in the direction of promoting the use of wood and facilitating its use and prescription to technicians.

In less than 20 years, the evolution has been spectacular, although there are still many myths to demolish. As an example of the durability of wooden architecture, this post illustrates an image of the “Temple of the Teaching of the Flourishing Law” (Horyu Gakumonji), a Buddhist temple located in Ikaruga, Nara prefecture, Japan. Inside are the oldest wooden buildings in the world, dating from 706. More than 1,400 years old! And there are still those who distrust wood …


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