Mar 21

Time to let architects do the talking

By: David Venables, European Director, American Hardwood Export Council

I have spent the best part of the last 17 years promoting the benefits of hardwood to the international design community.

“Wood is the material of the 21st century not concrete” Milan based architect Matteo Thun, March 2012

“Wood is forging ahead into areas that were to date beyond reach” Christian Schittich, editor Detail, March 2012

“Timber is the new concrete” Alex de Rijke, dRMM architects and Dean of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. March 2012

It’s been an interesting and challenging journey, with success and failures. I remember only too well a seminar in Scotland in the 90’s where the audience failed to reach double figures. But there have been many other occasions where hundreds of interested architects have turned up in venues all over Europe to hear the “wood works” message. Even in the early days we learnt the power of getting architects themselves to tell the wood story through their own experiences and projects. In those days architects who championed the use of wood were hard to find. But now the tide has turned and designers everywhere are not only turning to wood but are using their own platforms to promote and shout about its benefits. They are even challenging other industries on our behalf. Greater use of wood in building and product design makes great environmental, economic and aesthetic sense, wood industries know that, but now we are not the only voice in town. I leave the last word to Christian Schittich editor of Detail magazine who this month concludes “throughout history, wood, one of mankind’s most ancient building materials has time and again been the basis for exquisite buildings and structures. It has seldom been as relevant as it is right now.

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