April 2016

A change to building regulation codes in Australia earlier this year has meant that architects will now be allowed to build timber-framed structures up to eight storeys in height for the first time. As the result of a two-year research project, the country’s National Construction Code will be altered so that the permitted height of wooden buildings increases from three storeys to eight. The changes, effective from May 1, 2016, are expected to offer cost savings of up to 15 percent compared with other construction systems. This landmark decision in Australia has been hailed by architects who have embraced wood, praising its sustainability, quality and speed of construction, and also highlighting its aesthetic qualities and the feeling of warmth and well-being that it can bring to a space.

In keeping with the global trend for wood, Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut has unveiled his latest project – Hyperions – a cluster of connected timber towers, also referred to as a ‘vertical village’, which is due to be constructed by 2022 near New Delhi, India. Hyperion follows Callebaut’s usual design language, and its curving form will be recognizable to anyone familiar with the architect’s previous output. Named after the world’s tallest living tree, a Californian coast redwood, the project comprises six mixed-use towers featuring a mix of 1,000 residential units, offices, restaurants, and urban farms. We take a closer look at the 36-storey tall project, which will be constructed using cross-laminated timber (CLT) in our sustainability feature.

Asif Khan, who recently designed an elevated playground for school in thermally modified hardwood, not only consulted the head teacher but also actively talked to students. The structure is a tribute to the detailed briefing process that he undertook. From Helen James he learnt not only about her lack of space but about the fact that the playground was boring and the result was a certain amount of rowdiness. He also held regular meetings with the school council and every child at the school was encouraged to express, in words and drawings, their aspirations for their new playground. The end result is an elevated structure made from galvanized steel, clad in slats of thermally modified tulipwood and with beams and flooring in thermally modified ash. Khan was keen to use timber, because of its visual warmth, a contrast with the hard playground and the brick of the school building and surrounding housing.

As the official publication of the Dubai WoodShow, our April issue always includes a special supplement on behalf of the American Hardwood Export Council and a preview on some of the key players at the show. However, this issue also includes a supplement on behalf of Canadian Wood and we throw the spotlight on the eleven Canadian wood companies, who are participating at the show. Preparations for the second seminar and networking evening for the industry – ‘Talking Timber’ – supported by the American Hardwood Export Council, Swedish Wood, Malaysian Timber Council, American Softwoods and Farlin Timber are well underway at the time of going to press. Due to take place on April 5 at The Address, Dubai Mall, the event has attracted positive interest from the di erent elements of the ‘timber chain’ and we hope to welcome all of our readers and supporters to the event.

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