October 2015

The XIV World Forestry Congress, hosted by the Republic of South Africa, brought together the global forestry community to review and analyze the key issues and to share ways of addressing them. At the Congress – the first to be held in Africa – the FAO announced the results of its Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015. A key highlight of that report was that over the past 25 years the rate of net global deforestation has slowed down by more than 50 percent. Highlighting the positive news, José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General believes that “together, we can make forests one of the great comeback stories of our time.” We start this issue with a closer look at the state of forests today and the progress made through sustainable forest management.

The winners of the TREEHOUSING International Wood Design Competition were also announced at the World Forestry Congress. The competition challenged architecture students, professional architects and engineers around the world to develop innovative wood housing and affordable urban building solutions for Africa and beyond. Entrants were required to use any sustainably harvested wood material or product as the primary material for their designs. One of the main aims of the contest was to highlight the huge potential of legal and sustainably produced wood as a cost-efficient and versatile building material and valid alternative to non-renewable materials such as steel and concrete. With over 200 projects entered into the prestigious competition, we take a closer look at the winners and highly commended entries.

This issue also throws the spotlight on how timber can work with other materials to achieve a desired design aesthetic. At the Alila Jabal Akhdar Resort Hotel, the use of strong natural textured materials, predominantly timber and stone, gives the interior a warm and rustic aesthetic that one would find in a traditional local Omani mountain village home located in the adjacent mountains. Similarly, in the case of Casa Marino, located in an area of woodlands approximately 350 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, the use of materials attribute the scheme its understated finish, with concrete and wood working together to achieve a balance between building and landscape. You can read about these and several other projects in the pages that follow.

As a part of our ongoing endeavor to improve the magazine, we have launched a new section ‘Tall Timber’ where we will throw the spotlight on wooden towers. Given the growing acceptance of cross laminated timber and other engineered wood products, it is no surprise to see an increase in the number of timber buildings under construction. As such, we explore Europe’s tallest hybrid cross laminated timber residential building in this issue.

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