Architects value wood products for their lightweight, strength and endless possibilities
The main architectural advantages of wood material are its lightweight, strength and aesthetics. In addition, wood products, such as Kerto® LVL, also have architecturally inspiring and even health improving qualities.
The natural qualities of wood, especially its lightweight and strength, are much-needed features in building today’s urban environments. The use of wood in architecture has proven to be economical, structurally efficient and visually attractive.
“The composite structure that gives trees their lightness and specific strength is the same that makes wood products strong and lightweight. The engineered wooden beams compare well in strength to concrete and steel alternatives,” Matti Kuittinen, architect and researcher from Aalto University, points out.
Lightness of wood enables long spans
In addition to being lightweight, design professionals value wood materials especially for their fast construction time and versatility. In Clamart sports center located in France, architects used Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) instead of glulam, which is generally used for building long curved beams1.
“In this project, the complex geometry, double-curved with long spans, presented interesting technical challenges. Kerto® LVL enabled long spans and complex curves for which the sports center is now famous for. Use of engineered wood frame also proved to be economical, structurally efficient and visually attractive”, project manager-architect Gaétan Morales from Gaëtan Le Penhuel Architects explains.
In the Clamart project, the technical solution connects the façade and roof together with a continuous structure. This enabled greater architectural liberty, allowing wide spans, and optimizing the wooden structure itself.
Wood materials bring warmth and earthly feel to urban environments
Wood as a material represents the natural world that the users of a building can enjoy or even benefit in terms of health: by seeing it, touching it and being surrounded by it.
A growing volume of research2 suggests that the use of wood materials should be increased in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The presence of wood is associated with better patient outcomes such as shorter recovery times and lower pain perception. Also, unlike other natural materials, wood can be used both in mechanical and more aesthetic role, that can include exposed internal structures, interior design and furniture.
“In this respect, utilizing technically advanced, resource efficient wood elements, is essential for the future as they bring architectural diversity and aesthetic, as well as quality of living,” Kuittinen says.
This article has been published as a part of the Kerto LVL Fast, Light, Green series. Read all articles.
1 Metsä Wood references, the Clamart Sport Centre
2 S. Augustin and D. Fell, “Wood as a restorative material in healthcare environments”, FP Innovations, 2015, https://fpinnovations.ca/media/publications/documents/health-report.pdf
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Metsä Wood provides competitive and environmentally friendly wood products for construction, industrial customers and distributor partners. We manufacture products from northern wood, a sustainable raw material of premium quality. Our sales in 2017 were EUR 0.5 billion, and we employ about 1,400 people. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group.