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Building With Wood


What is the future of timber construction? We asked ourselves this question on our 60th anniversary. In many countries, timber construction is booming like never before. The know-how, the capacities of the timber industry, and the awareness of builders and architects about resources have grown steadily in recent years. Forest cover has increased in many regions of Europe. While experts predicted this positive development in timber construction, we still face a dilemma today. This is because timber suppliers are barely managing to meet the construction industry’s high demand. The renewable resource of wood has become scarce, and its prices have gone up. For many of the building contractors who prioritize sustainability issues, wood is an obvious solution. However, high demand, particularly in the USA and China, are leading to supply bottlenecks on the ­timber market. Is this raw material shortage only ­temporary? Anne Isopp interviewed several timber entrepreneurs about this topic for her article in this issue.

With our December issue on timber buildings, we see the close of another pandemic year and remain true to our abiding focus on climate and resources. In our June 2021 issue celebrating Detail’s 60th birthday, we took a close look at climate strategies being taken by architects, political developments, as well as innovations in the construction industry. This current issue complements that by showing the potential timber has for architecture as a renewable resource. Julia Liese compiled the projects in this issue with consideration of different construction approaches, timber species, and building typologies. As always, we provide docu­mentation on completed buildings – from elegant urban residences by Alliance architecture studio in Oslo, to compact refugee housing in Geneva by Acau Architecture – with plans and detailed sections. It is certainly no coincidence that three projects in this issue are from Scandinavia. Building with wood has a long tradition in the region, which benefits from widespread forests and a highly developed ­timber industry.

Timber buildings are also a focal point of this year’s new publications in the Detail book programme. Our revised and expanded atlas on multi-storey ­timber construction will be published this autumn in English. Both our practice-oriented book “Building with Hardwood” as well as our recent release “Engineering Nature” document timber structures and types of construction, construction drawings included. Our book publications have also been ­indirectly impacted by the wood shortage – they are printed on paper that contains wood from Scandinavia.

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