December 2014

Outlining his vision for the potential of timber in buildings, Andrew Lawrence, Arup’s Timber Specialist, makes a case for timber as being ideally suited to modern prefabricated construction. He believes that we are at the start of a revolution where we will soon see timber become a standard construction material alongside steel and concrete. He signs off his article for the magazine by stating that wood really does have the potential to create buildings, which are beautiful, sustainable and cost competitive at the same time. A quick glance at the different timber projects and emerging technologies in this issue help to further illustrate his point and we couldn’t agree more.

As the only magazine dedicated to the timber and woodworking industry in the Middle East, we are committed to elevating the profile of timber across the GCC’s burgeoning building and construction sector. Given that the total value of construction projects due to be completed in 2014 in the GCC is expected to top USD 72 billion, it is imperative that we highlight the potential of timber. The Ventures Middle East report, featured in this issue, points to an increase in construction activity, which has increased opportunities for the interiors and fit outs markets with investment estimated to reach USD 7.84 billion by end of this year.

This issue also features the UK’s largest timber building, the William Perkin High School in Greenford, West London, which officially opened in April this year. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley, the final result is a showcase for timber engineering due to its sheer size, exposed timber structure and bold architecture. While originally planned as a concrete frame building, the school’s design shifted to a timber superstructure due to the distinct advantages timber offers in both cost and time. Further, the choice of CLT and glulam rather than concrete has resulted in fewer, and likely less disruptive, material deliveries, and saved approximately 4,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions if timber sequestration is included.

Working with timber often means celebrating the variation and character of this natural material. We take a look at Greg Klassen’s ‘River Collection’, a series of intricately designed and handcrafted tables that feature embedded, blueish-green glass ‘rivers’ running throughout each piece. Each of Klassen’s tables showcase the gorgeous details within the wood; we see knots, swirling grains, and other imperfections that make his work truly one-of-a-kind. More importantly, he uses trees that were sustainably harvested from the banks of the Noonsack river, so with every new table he builds, discarded trees have a new life through functional art.

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