Wood Urbanism: From the Molecular to the Territorial

Daniel Ibañez, Jane Hutton and Kiel Moe

From under-considered thermal properties, emerging manu­facturing possibilities, new forestry regimes to larger ecosystem and carbon cycle dynamics, wood is uniquely positioned for socially just and ecologically sane models of urbanization in the twenty-first century yet remains inadequately characterized in architecture, landscape architec­ture and urbanism. As the unique material properties of wood operate at multiple, simultaneous spatial and temporal scales—so should the discussions surrounding wood’s role as a critical material for design today. This research brings into dialogue scholars, experts and practitioners who focus on wood from a range of perspectives—from the working forest to the mid-rise building to the material cell itself. The aim is to examine the implications and potentials of wood urbanism, drawing particular focus to the complex socio-ecological relationships between land-use, wood production and wood construction. While relying on the inherent intelligence and depth of multiple disciplines, a more totalizing metabolic perspective on the role of wood in contemporary buildings, urbanization and territories is needed: from the unperceptively small to the unperceptively large.

Planned outcome:  book publication

Mapping tree biomass density at a global scale. Nature, 2015.
Deforestation intensity in the Amazon. The Carnegie Landsat Analysis System – Lite (CLASlite).
Landgrabbing in Indonesia, © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace.
Clear-cut logging on Vancouver Island. Garth Lenz / Foundation for Deep Ecology.
Wood circulation and storage, British Columbia. Google Earth, 2014.
Man standing in front of a pile of cedar timber in a manufacturing company in Seattle, 1939. Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE magazine.
Herzog & De Meuron's Hannover Competition, 2000.
Petrosino Park proposal by West 8, 1996.
Conceptual diagram on wood transformation in architecture by Daniel Ibañez, 2013.
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