Timber architecture fit for the future x 50

WOODBOX, a compact and mobile exhibition element planted directly in cities, reveals the potential for forward-thinking timber architecture in Europe. Fifty international architectural projects demonstrate new dimensions to the possibilities in building with wood.

Wood-based construction – modern, urban and sustainable

Technological developments in the past several years now allow for totally new ways of building using wood, making this sustainable material predestined for ambitious building projects in urban areas. Growing cities create a huge demand for intelligent ways to use densely occupied space, for energy-efficient renovation and the creation of smart living spaces. The projects featured in the mobile exhibition in the WOODBOX give insight into appropriate solutions using wood.

Timber buildings in new dimensions

The architectural examples presented reflect how building with wood can tackle completely new dimensions, from long-span structures to high-rises, and can be applied to the expansion of existing structures, the compact building of housing and renovations, and finally, the significant role wood can play in public building projects, including everything from schools to care homes. Wood additionally brings specific advantages, which are explored in detail in the WOODBOX. Due to its light weight, wood comes ahead of the competition when it comes to building additions to existing structures and is especially suitable for adding additional storeys. The high degree of prefabrication possible with wood leads to short construction times that may well be even record-breaking.

Wood-based construction as a form of active climate protection

The WOODBOX highlights not just the architectural qualities inherent in building with wood, but the environmental ones too. Timber buildings are extensions of the reservoirs of stored carbon in the form of forests. Wood-based construction allows for a secondary forest of buildings to emerge in cities and towns. Timber buildings’ small carbon footprint provides an unimpeachable argument for wood as a building material when one considers the increasingly urgent questions associated with climate protection.

Pioneering projects from Austria, Switzerland, Germany

The majority of the model projects originate in the German-speaking countries; many of them are from Austria, which sees itself as a pioneer in building with timber. Austrian know-how, as well as the specific German and Swiss experience with the material, are the starting point for the expansion of and networking between wood-based construction projects throughout Europe.

The design office Gassner Redolfi and Hermann Kaufmann, architect and pioneer in building with timber as well as professor in the Department of Timber Construction at the Technical University in Munich, are responsible for the idea for the WOODBOX (awarded with the European Design Award 2013) and the direction it has taken. The WOODBOX is a distilled version of his much larger exhibition “Building with Timber – Paths into the Future” that was held in 2011/2012 in Munich and in 2012/2013 in Vienna.