February 2016

Taking over from steel and concrete as the architectural wonder material of the 21st century, wood has been embraced by architects and designers, who have praised its sustainability, quality and speed of construction. It is no surprise then that 2015 was heralded by many as ‘the beginning of the timber age’. Given the emergence of new types of engineered wood products that are considerably stronger and more stable than regular wood, and the development of new building techniques, architects are able to build bigger and higher, with timber skyscrapers now a real prospect.

A pioneer in ‘Tall Timber’, Michael Green has been behind some of the tallest wood buildings in the world today. We start our issue o by looking at his proposal for the Réinventer Paris competition – an inventive urban project called ‘Baobab’ that would feature the world’s tallest wood building at 35-storeys and would see Paris de ne the next era of city building. The project’s innovations are multi-dimensional and extend beyond wood building materials and height. What’s more, the wood products used would store an estimated 3,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent to keeping 2,207 cars o the road for a year, or operating a home for 982 years.

We also look at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, which ran from October 3, 2015 through to January 3, 2016, which attracted over half a million visitors and closed amid strong public reception and critical acclaim. With 120 participating architecture and design o ces contributing 93 projects from more than 30 countries, ‘Chicago Horizon’, Ultramoderne’s winning submission for the Lakefront Kiosk Competition was a massive draw during the Biennial. On display at the Millennium Park for the duration of the Biennial, Ultramoderne’s design uses cross-laminated timber, a carbon-negative engineered lumber product, to create an expansive canopy supported by a series of slender columns.

As the only magazine dedicated to the timber and woodworking industry in the Middle East, I am happy to announce that we will be hosting the second edition of ‘Talking Timber’ – a seminar and networking evening for the industry – on the sidelines of the Dubai WoodShow 2016. Given that the MENA region is a major consumer and processing hub for timber, the evening will throw the spotlight on timber and why we should be embracing it as a material. We are nalizing the program of speakers and will be announcing further details via the website.

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