Stockholm, Sweden has developed a masterplan for a new neighborhood that will consist of all wood buildings!
A few weeks ago, many architectural journals and magazines were publishing articles about this effort that is being undertaken. Stockholm has an area of vacant land, near to the city center that will be used to showcase modern wood technology. Stockholm Wood City will be a vibrant community within the context of the city. Bridging this gap in the city fabric and will result in a “15-minute city”, where-in all of the basic human needs of modern society are accessible within a 15 minute walk.
The exciting part is this; any type of building could be constructed to meet the required functions but an effort is being made to break from carbon-intensive construction methods! Instead of using concrete and steel as the primary materials, they will use mass timber which substantially offsets the carbon impacts of producing materials for new construction. Although there is material processing that happens to prepare raw wood for this construction method but it pales in comparison to the environmental impact of sourcing steel or the chemical off-gassing of making concrete. Wood, when paired with steel hardware and limited concrete, creates a hybrid or composite system with many benefits.
In America, heavy timber is becoming a more popular material for structural and panel systems but still lags behind more traditional systems. However, for construction within a certain range of square footage and height, it can be not just aesthetically desirable but cost effective. In a master planning project like this, there is a point where the economies of scale are a driving factor. We can look at this as ambitious on the part of Atrium Ljungberg (the developer) because it feels foreign or intimidating. At the same time, the project is supplying units to address a fundamental and universal need.
It is inspiring to think of the benefits of using wood in construction such as this. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions, promoting of sustainable forest management, increasing energy-efficiency and a reducing ecological footprint are the lifecycle benchmarks for the future of construction but for me the most eye-opening aspect is that it is attainable.
Please take a look at the links below to learn more about Atrium Ljungberg and Stockholm Wood City. Let us know if you have questions, comments, or would like to discuss mass timber as an option for you project.