"... then there are no limits to the triumph of timber construction"

Timber construction in Germany is booming! In an interview, managing directors and industry experts Eberhard Stegner (GRAPHISOFT), Markus Gallenberger (FRILO) and Alexander Neuss (SEMA) explain what wood can do and why it is important to dispel incorrect prejudices about urban construction. The trio also deals with the holistic BIM workflow that exists between the three software solutions.

 

Good day gentlemen. Wooden structures are sometimes highly complex and multi-layered engineering structures. Which timber construction made a lasting impression on you?

Stegner: The Mont-Cenis Academy in Herne made a lasting impression on me as a timber construction. How the glass walls merge with the wooden stand is absolutely worth seeing from the architect's point of view.

Gallenberger: I have been to Norway a lot in the past and I remember Akershus University Hospital in Oslo as a special wooden structure. Especially in the main entrance, the building material wood comes into its own in combination with the large glass walls. The wooden slats also surround the children's hospital and form a nice contrast to the dark grey ceramic facade.

Neuss: I am generally fascinated by the multi-storey wooden house construction. In this regard, the HoHo in Vienna with its 24 floors and a height of 84 meters is an absolute showcase project in hybrid construction. Despite the bundling of several building materials, wood was clearly in the foreground when building the HoHo. With the help of three-dimensional examples, the high-rise makes it clear why wooden houses are so important today and for future generations.

 

That would be?

Neuss: Compared to a version made of reinforced concrete, the HoHo saves 2,800 tons of CO2 equivalents. This corresponds to around 20 million kilometres by car. In addition to the effect of storing CO2, wood as a building material has many other energetic and ecological advantages. For example, it has been calculated that the HoHo uses 300,000 mega-hours less primary energy than a version made of reinforced concrete. In other words, this is the energy that is required to heat a house with 32 residential units for a period of 1,100 years. Thanks to its natural insulating properties, wood helps to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.

 

Wood is convincing as an environmentally and energy-friendly building material. That is one reason why timber construction is currently very much in vogue. What other special features does wood have as a building material?

Stegner: In addition to its ability to store CO2, wood is particularly climate-neutral and sustainable because it is a renewable and durable raw material. When it comes to the stability and load-bearing capacity of wood as a building material, just think of the many half-timbered houses that have stood in some regions for centuries. In addition, due to its versatility in buildings, wood can be used in an extremely versatile manner as a building material for supporting structures, facades, terraces, but also for interior cladding.

Gallenberger: Studies in hospitals and schools have shown that wood reduces stress levels and has a positive effect on people's wellbeing. Wood promotes the healing process, health and recovery of people. In addition to the aspect of healthy living, wood also conveys harmony and cosiness in interiors thanks to its cosy appearance. In addition, wood does not produce any waste. At the end of their service life, individual components are either reused or burned, thus generating thermal energy.

 

The multitude of advantages of wood as a building material is obvious. How do you explain that wooden buildings and constructions are nevertheless underrepresented in rural and urban areas?

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