Wood and its products has played an important role to the development of architecture, cities or even civilization throughout the ages. Especially where the forests grow, wood has commonly been used as a building material. Although woods from the natural forest is now prohibited, but the industrial forest can supply the wood enough for the global demand. But what make wood becomes the material of the future?
Using wood in architecture is nothing new. Especially the wood culture like Thailand where we put wood to all parts of the building. But in the global scale, there are many researches and studies shown that building with wood is energy-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Those evidence indicated that wood has many benefits as a building material when compared with other materials.
You might already heard about it before but let me elaborate all the wood benefits to the construction. Above all it has a low weight in relation to its strength and load bearing capacity. Then, this material is “flexible” which make them absorb the stress and movement of the building and that make wood constructions do have significant advantages in severe seismic zones. The wood also can be worked and crafted with simple tools. This could be imply that any of workers or contractor can do the wood construction without the special tools which could save times and money from those tools. The construction of woods can create numbers of job to local workers too.
In another aspect, wood is the best renewable material. Do not prejudice that all wood are the illegal from deforestation, since the certified industrial forest wood is now available and also growing its capacity. Wood, a biological material is the part of the natural eco system of which we now can grow in an industrial scale without negative environmental impact. In this way, the use of wood makes a vital contribution to the reduction of the earth’s emissions of carbon dioxide.
On the other hand, wood is bio degradable. All the waste and debris from every process of the material life cycle is not last long. The waste from timber and wood production can use for the biomass electric generation. The debris from the demolition of the wood construction can be reused for other purpose or create up-cycle product before disposed or burnt.
However, there were some reasons that omit the usage of wood in architecture. Wood might not last long since it is natural. But there are many technology that help extending its life to decades, for example, the wood protection coatings and treatments.
The cost of wood is also another thing. Some beautiful kind of wood could be the most expensive material in the room. But the coating and wood stain can help you “faking” the color and texture of it. Also, the veneer can be another option for the surface use if you can not afford the thick timber.
I admit that wood can not be applied to all parts with all types of architecture. But I believe there will be the better wood protection material, technology or innovation in the near future that give the wood more durable, better strength and even special properties such as fire retardant. Still, I would like to encourage the proper use of the wood to the proper part of building and construction which can also promote the renewable material from the forest and wood industry and finally the architecture can be a closed eco cycle.