This course explores recent innovations in timber construction technology and their impact on the current and future discourse of architecture. By assessing the development of sustainable forestry practices over the last 300 years as well as the current science of silviculture, students will investigate the newfound potential of wood as a high-performance construction material and evaluate its impact on both local and global economies, ecologies, and societies.
The seminar will examine current methods of timber harvesting and processing, the production of dimensional lumber and engineered wood products, as well as their application at various building scales, ranging from rural single-family dwellings to high-rise structures in dense urban settings. Relative to other conventional construction materials and systems, the use of wood as a primary structural material will be evaluated with regard to its aesthetic and poetic qualities, life cycle assessment, energy consumption, carbon sequestration, and global warming potential. Students will be expected to work on a research project over the course of the semester, which will be presented through oral presentations, written documentation, and/or models and drawings.
The instructor’s book “Turning Point in Timber Construction”, published by Birkhäuser Basel in January 2017, will form the foundation for the course: https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/472399?rskey=LKQR9B&result=1