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Timber makes a comeback: here are the reasons why

Timber is trending at the moment, making a resurgence in urban architecture. Reports say there is a growing trend to use timber, especially in the UK and Europe, and developers are urged to consider timber's potential beyond the conventional steel and concrete. Here's why the material is making a comeback:

The advantages of timber construction
Timber offers several benefits, including reduced carbon emissions, quicker construction times, and improved well-being for occupants. These advantages are fuelling a wave of innovative architectural projects, among these the largest mass timber project, Wood City, in Stockholm, which will cover 2.5 million square feet.

Photo: Atrium Ljunberg

It will be 'the world's largest wooden city', according to Swedish urban developer Atrium Ljungberg. The ambitious project is being built in Sickla, which is located in the southern, central parts of Stockholm, and extends over 250,000 square metres. 'It will offer a vibrant, urban environment with a mix of workplaces, housing, restaurants and shops. Through innovative design, technology and a strong collaborative culture, a new standard is set for sustainable construction.'

Overcoming historical concerns
Traditionally, concerns about fire and water damage have made timber less appealing to designers and developers. However, the rising demand for sustainable buildings is changing this perception.

Health and aesthetic benefits
Timber buildings also offer health benefits, such as improved air quality and reduced stress. For instance, Bywater's Paradise SE11 project aims to enhance tenant experience through biophilic design, which integrates natural elements into the built environment.

Addressing challenges and misconceptions
Despite challenges like insurance issues and safety misconceptions, the demand for timber buildings is increasing. Timber forms a protective char layer during fires, maintaining structural integrity. Interestingly, water damage, not fire, is the greatest technical challenge.


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