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This book emphasizes the important message that architects and structural engineers must strive to ensure that the buildings they design and construct should not be major contributors to climate change. Rather, they should be exploring the use of green materials and building methods – such as timber, wood, and associated materials – in order to safeguard the environment. These sustainable materials are not only environmentally friendly, but they have the added benefit of being easy to manufacture, cost effective, often locally available, and easily replenished. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that wood and timber are viable materials in the construction of a wide variety of building types, including medium and high-rise buildings.
The Importance of Wood and Timber in Sustainable Buildings brings together a distinguished group of contributors from different cultures and building traditions to address why now is the time to rethink our construction methods and explore replacing many of the carbon intensive materials that are currently being used with wood and timber.



Chapter 1. Bamboo: The Forgotten Versatile Materials

This chapter enquires the potentials of bamboo as building materials and evaluates the strategies of using bamboo based on case studies of existing bamboo buildings throughout the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. Bamboo is well known to be a versatile material for the building industry, yet its usage in building construction is very limited that people disregard the potential of bamboo as a versatile material for the sustainable construction industry. Research and observation have shown that bamboo buildings are relevant to the modern era, and the usage of bamboo as building materials could support the call of sustainable development. Hence, bamboo deserves to be reestablished in the construction industry, for the construction of both modern and traditional architecture.
Fadzidah Abdullah, Aliyah Nur Zafirah Sanusi, Aida Kesuma Azmin, Zeenat Begam Yusof

Chapter 2. The Role of Wood in Current Sustainable Building in Thailand as Architectural Ornaments

The purpose of this study is to explore how wood can be applied into sustainable building in modern context. Currently, the wood production in the market varies, and the consumption of wood material can be domestically or globally. The objective of this study is to have an overall view of the application of wood as architectural ornaments in Thailand. The scope of this study focuses only on five-star hotel buildings in Chiang Mai. Qualitative data, which involved direct observations at the site, was conducted. The findings showed that wood has been applied as decorative items, as guardians or protectors, and as building main structure, to replicate existing old or ancient building, to create a certain ambience, and for aesthetic value. These wood come in varying sizes and forms. Lastly, only two hotels, namely, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai and Ratilanna Riverside Spa Resort Chiang Mai, have applied wood more than 50% in their lobby area.
Muhammad Faizal Bin Abdul Rani, Puan Sri Datin Seri Nila Inangda Manyam Keumala Binti Haji Daud

Chapter 3. Wood Handicraft in the Traditional Architecture of Yemen: Current Dangers and Sustainability Issues

This chapter presents a concise review of traditional uses of wood in the Yemen. The chapter is divided into several subsections: the first one describes the general classifications of traditional wood uses and how wood functioned in the traditional buildings. In each classification of use, a number of specific applications and wood artefacts were identified. The factors that define the structural properties and wood quality were discussed.
Wood carpentry discipline and its development in Yemen were illustrated. Yemen’s geographical landforms and climates are explained and its relationship to building forms and choice of material. It was found important to discuss the social life of the Yemeni people.
A concise description of Yemeni vernacular architecture in terms of its characteristics, unique forms and urban fabric of the old cities and the sociocultural and bioclimatic influences is highlighted. This is followed by a detailed analysis on the traditional wood uses such as doors and windows and the decorated ceilings. At the end, the chapter presents a discussion of the present threats and future challenges and proposes a general (preliminary) sustainability framework and lastly the epilogue.
Khaled A. Al-Sallal

Chapter 4. Timber as a Sustainable Building Material from Old to Contemporary Experiences: Review and Assessment of Global and Egypt’s Examples

Throughout history, wood as a building material has been used extensively thousands years ago. It is considered the second known building material after stone; thus, it is recognized as an ancient building resource material. However, wood as a natural rigid material of plant origin has been substituted and associated with man-made common rigid materials in the building construction such as steel and concrete that are characterized with higher carbon emissions and lower sustainability. But with the rise of environmental stewardship in response to the high carbon emissions in cities, sustainable material usage in buildings has reached spotlights. Wood or timber is recently revitalized in contemporary construction as a sustainable built material for being highly renewable and nontoxic and having low embodied energy feature, even though it has been recently used in skyscrapers. In addition, stakeholders are encouraged to integrate timber in all various building types and to reinvest the sustainable material in construction for its recognized insulation, durability, flexibility, affordability, and aesthetic nature, not to ignore the benefits of wood to the building occupants in enhancing their emotional and physical connection with their occupied spaces. This work is intended to compose a significant achievement in educating architects to look at subjects normally ignored and to consider the use of organic material such as wood (timber) in meaningful ways. It focuses on enriching the knowledge base of sustainable wood and lumber in new and existing buildings by highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of timber material usage; it also aims at encouraging the sustainable experience of timber and broadens its usability and functionality in the industry. In this book chapter, local and global existing building cases are reviewed and assessed for the integration of timber as a construction material in the structure, skeleton, interior, and façade of these buildings. The advances and drawbacks of timber usage in construction are highlighted through the assessment of cases. Finally, a comparative analysis that emphasizes the sustainability of timber as a building material in different case studies is provided. Further, life cycle analysis of timber usage in buildings is to be studied.
Mohsen Aboulnaga, Maryam Elsharkawy

Chapter 5. Green Building Issues Using Wood and Timber in Buildings in the Arabian Gulf Countries

Wood and timber are significant building materials used in construction projects for centuries; since the earliest buildings, they have been featured prominently as a construction tool, structural material, and aesthetic finish. But what part is the material playing in today’s sector, what benefits is this bringing to the contractors and end users, and what issues should they be aware of? The use of wooden products remains mostly for aesthetics and to fit the general theme selected by architects or designers.
With forests not so greatly featured in the natural landscape of the Gulf, most of the wood used for the construction industry must be imported, which raises issues of availability, cost, and transportation. However, the region’s location does ease the potential challenge of availability. The sources of wood vary according to the type with supplies being offered from countries worldwide. Plywood is typically sourced from Indonesia, China, and Brazil; softwood timber from Chile, Austria, New Zealand, and Romania; and, moreover, hardwoods from Africa, North America, and Indonesia only to name but a few.
Over the past two decades, a renaissance in wooden architecture has occurred with the development of new wooden building systems and design strategies, elevating wood from a predominantly single-family residential idiom to a rival of concrete and steel construction for a variety of building types, including high rises (Mayo, Solid wood: Case studies in mass timber architecture, technology and design, Taylor & Francis, Abingdon, 2015). Wood and timber in architecture offer unparalleled environmental as well as construction and aesthetic benefits and are of growing importance for professionals and academics involved in green design.
This article will endeavor to bring back the uses of wood and timber in buildings in the The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) as a natural material that can be used to achieve green building and are to cool the interior spaces by reflecting the direct sun when having lattice windows or ceiling. There is a good example in using these natural materials in ceilings and wooden screens to shade and make a comfort zone of traditional houses, as well as nowadays that have been reflected in contemporary architecture in order to increase energy efficiency. Modern architecture is inspired by heritage elements in which wood and timber surge the intimate scale of the street and interior as esthetical elements.
Falah Al-Kubaisy

Chapter 6. Wood Building in Portugal

The culture of construction in Portugal does not consider integral wooden structures as one of the most suitable solutions to meet the demands placed on project owners, designers, and builders. Although wood has been used in most roof and floor structures in the past, the twentieth century was the time when reinforced concrete and metallic structures became the most used and widespread solutions. It was only in the last two/three decades that there was a greater interest in wooden structures, and in Portugal, albeit in small numbers, a notable set of works that used wooden structures appeared.
It is important to briefly mention the reasons why in Portugal wood is not traditionally a natural choice. On the other hand, it is interesting to analyze the generic reasons for wood to now become a desirable material from the perspective of the building owners and the designers. Cultural factors, the climate, the relationship with the forest, the construction market, and the technical education of the designers allow us to answer the first question. The evolution of wooden construction products, the existence of a globalized market for products and ideals, and the emergence of the concept of environmental sustainability will allow us to respond to the second.
Despite the phenomenon of the revival of wooden structures that has been happening worldwide, especially in countries with relevant tradition in this field, and the effort that has been evident in Portugal to follow this trend, there is still no change in the construction landscape that can be considered significant. Can recent projects where relatively innovative solutions have been risked in the Portuguese market set themselves as examples to bring about a change in the future? Could the potential of wood in terms of sustainability, comfort, aesthetics, and performance stand in opposition to traditional fears in terms of durability, safety, maintenance, and costs? Observing some of the recent works, with wooden structures, will allow to answer some of the questions raised.
An analysis of the construction universe demands that we accept that different types of construction/architecture have different problematics. Small buildings (pavilions, pergolas, shelters), single-family dwellings (modules, catalog houses, custom houses), low-rise buildings (restaurants, offices, agriculture, industry) medium-height buildings (housing, offices, and equipment), buildings in height (housing and offices), large naves (sports halls, swimming pools), and bridges are some of the typologies where wood has emerged as an integral structural material or at least as a dominant solution. In the impossibility of making an exhaustive study of all types, the choice of some representative case studies allows us to observe the challenges that arose in each situation, from conception to construction. The motivations of each developer and each designer, as well as their perspective for the future, will help to understand what is happening with wooden construction in Portugal.
This chapter will present a series of relevant case studies, such as the following:
  • Espigueiro—Pombal do Cruzeiro—Tiago do Vale (small structures—portived)
  • Treehouse—Appleton & Domingos (modular house—porticado × Panels)
  • Adpropeixe House—Carlos Castanheira (personalized house—porticado)
  • Redbridge School Lisboa—ARX Portugal Arquitectos (medium-height equipment—CLT)
  • Socio-Cultural Center of Costa Nova—ARX Portugal Arquitectos (medium-height equipment—porticado)
  • Environmental Interpretation Center EVOA—“Maisr” Arquitectos (low-rise building—porticado)
  • Equestre Center in Matosinhos—Carlos Castanheira (large nave—Porticado).
Each case study would be accompanied by the following:
A—Drawings (plans, sections, elevations, and images)
B—Quantitative data on the construction system, sustainability, and costs
A—Justifications (given by the designers) for the choice of wood and the difficulties/resistance encountered in the choice, design, and execution. Lessons and perspectives for the future
Luis Morgado, João Gomes Ferreira, Manuel Correia Guedes

Chapter 7. Sustainable Wooden Construction of Traditional Houses in Moderate Humid Climate of North Iran

Wood has shown a rich history in the architectural characteristics of most nations. Its importance refers to the natural origin and environmental aspects which emphasize the approach toward sustainable architecture. Its history is particularly highlighted in the humid and moderate regions where the abundance of vegetation intensifies the wide use of wood. In order to learn the valuable lessons from historic architecture and apply them nowadays, recognizing its critical functions and performance in the past is inevitable. Guilan province in Iran benefits from the unique wooden architecture, compatible with the requirements of the area and based on sustainability principles. Determination of these potentials provides new perspectives to take advantage of low-rise residential buildings in this area and similar contexts. In this regard, the major wooden components in structure and elements were studied and their performance and mechanism introduced. However, the wood capabilities are still replicable in this geography, urbanism rate, and common industrial materials, and methods prohibit its development in the construction sector. This chapter seeks to revive its place in the sustainable architecture of the past.
Seyedehmamak Salavatian

Chapter 8. Multiple Scales Insight into Using Timber for a Sustainable and Future Approach to Buildings

Owing to its unique characteristics, wood has historically been a valuable and useful natural resource. It is also one of the most important construction materials mankind has ever come across. This review chapter aims to provide a big-picture view of the choices that had influenced using timber in construction. The novelty of this proposal is that it succinctly will cover current knowledge and provide important insight at multiple scales: from trees as a sustainable resource and timber properties as construction materials, to cultural practices, to the use of timber for building in different time periods. At the smallest scale, the elements that make up the structure of wood contribute to its various properties at a macro scale. At the largest scale, the knowledge of material properties increases the already significant potential for using timber in the built environment. Bringing these two scales together should provide directions for future research that will shape environmental outcomes for sustainable building.
Carolina Ganem Karlen

Chapter 9. Laminated Timber Buildings: An Overview of Environmental Impacts

Wood and timber are historical construction materials, but their applications in buildings have been largely limited to low-rise construction as well as wood products such as doors, window frames, or furniture used in buildings. The application of timber in tall buildings has recently received significant interest by architects and engineers, mainly due to concerns about the environmental impacts of buildings, timber’s carbon potentials, and developments of new timber products with enhanced mechanical properties.
The current chapter will provide an overview of the state-of-the-art knowledge related to the environmental impacts of timber’s application in buildings. The chapter starts with a brief history of timbers in buildings, reviews the carbon cycling in forests and how deforestation affects it, and proceeds with the pros and cons of timber construction and the recent technological developments that have addressed the concerns regarding timber’s application in tall buildings. Finally, an overview of the literature regarding the life cycle environmental impacts of timber buildings is presented.
Rahman Azari, Maryam Singery

Chapter 10. One Floor at a Time: Cross-Laminating a Sustainable Future for Mass Timber in North America

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) started in Germany and Austria in the early 1990s. As old-growth timber became difficult to find, glue-laminated timber (Glulam) and other engineered products became popular.
Since the advent of Mass Timber products around the world, architects, engineers, and manufacturers have leveraged CLT and other Mass Timber products for their advantages, including design flexibility, aesthetics, strength to weight ratio, and overall material performance. There is a revolution in the building sector that is working to elevate timber to the level of steel and concrete, mostly through taller and longer spanning structures.
In addition to many aesthetic and structural performance opportunities, and as a renewable resource with low embodied energy, CLT offers a low carbon footprint while also sequestering and serving as a carbon sink. Interest in CLT as a new engineered wood product in North America is still in the early stages of development and is widely and rapidly proliferating. Demand for CLT in the USA and Canada is driven by architects and engineers requiring sustainable timber-based building products and systems (Mohammad et al., Wood Design Focus 22:3–12, 2012). While the classic wood frame construction is a sound and economical option for smaller residential construction, CLT provides an opportunity for the North American wood industry to build both larger and taller structures in wood. However, development is delayed by building regulations that cautiously safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare whenever a novel building product is introduced, materiality notwithstanding. This chapter is intended to advance the knowledge of Cross Laminated Timber technology. In addition, it will examine trends in mass timber construction in North America from the perspective of carbon footprint, structural performance, fire, and life safety. To that end, we are describing a legacy of excellence of Mass Timber construction in sustainability and tall building design and construction.
This chapter consists of:
  • Introduction:
    • Rings of time.
    • Availability and abundance: A naturally warm resource.
    • CLT, NLT, DLT, GLT, MPP, LVL: Ingredients in the alphabet soup for the mass timber soul.
    • Organic paths of resistance: Structural strength, directionality and grain.
  • Sustainability and Performance:
    • Time and time again: A most renewable natural resource.
    • The trees they do grow high: Innovation and the promise of technology in tall timber buildings … and the leaves they do grow green: Embodied energy, sustainability and green building.
    • One tree at a time: Carbon footprint, carbon sequestration, and finding the forest through the trees (FFTT).
  • Case Studies
  • Conclusion
    • Cross laminated timber: Leading the way into a sustainable future for mass timber.
  • References
Mona Azarbayjani, David Jacob Thaddeus

Chapter 11. Time and Nature for Responsive Wood Architecture. Two Projects of Schools’ Buildings for Temporary and Adaptive Solutions

Two innovative design paths carried out on the subject of school building are presented below, in which wooden solutions offer technological answers for a bioclimatic, resilient and adaptive architecture. One is the project for a new school in Sardinia (Italy), conceived as a creative green ecosystem, based on the spatial and functional articulation of the cellular morphological structure of the building organism, organized as an aggregation of hexagonal modules made with a wood dry construction system. The second project is oriented towards the exploration of temporary, flexible and reversible structures, always made of wood with a dry construction system, as an expansion of existing educational spaces and the re-functionalization of green areas and external public spaces. Wood, with its performance characteristics, lends itself to enhance the green and eco-sustainable approach, in particular in the case of educational spaces.
Antonella Trombadore, Gisella Calcagno, Juan Camilo Olano


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