Industry News

Exploring Lagos Wooden Tower, the groundbreaking project by Hermann Kamte

Hermann Kamte, young Cameroonian architect and founder of Hermann Kamte & Associates (HKA), is the driving force behind the project of the innovative 87-metre high Lagos Wooden Tower.

Originally designed as a submission for Metsä Wood's City Above the City competition, Kamte's design looks to tackle the problem of poorly planned construction in many African cities by pushing the boundaries of contemporary architecture.

In the City Above the City competition, participants were invited to suggest solutions for new housing on top of existing urban buildings, using Metsä Wood's Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) as the main material.

Kamte's highly innovative design used Kerto® LVL to construct a tower on top of an existing concrete building in the heart of Nigeria's capital city, Lagos. Mixed residential spaces, separated by open floors featuring sky gardens and amenities, are shaded and ventilated by a stylised wooden envelope using symbols that reflect Nigerian Yoruba heritage. Remarkably, this experimental building is also developed through natural, recyclable and local material.

Among other awards and nominations, the design project has been shortlisted for the 2017 World Architecture Festival Awards. It was also a winner of the 2017 WAFX Prize in the cultural identity category. 

Thanks to pioneering young designers such as Hermann Kamte, more and more of Africa's new architecture is winning widespread acclaim for its innovation and sustainability.

"The Lagos design project has really caught people's attention and highlighted the potential of wood construction in Africa," reports a note from Metsä Wood. "Seeing wood as a valuable and sustainable resource could benefit African society at large, but right now, for African designers and builders, concrete and bricks are far easier to obtain and a lot cheaper than wooden construction products."

"However, there is still potential for this to change. As we raise the profile of timber-based architecture, the demand will grow and wooden building solutions will become cheaper and more accessible."

For more information about the project, click here.

Read our focus on Mass Timber projects here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/exploring-lagos-wooden-tower-groundbreaking-project-hermann-kamte]

World's tallest timber building 'HoHo Tower' is taking shape in Vienna

Construction of the new 84-meter, 24-storey high 'HoHo Tower' in Vienna, Austria - set to be the world's tallest timber building - has been underway for over a year now.

The lower of the two structures is complete (click on the picture to expland) and installation of the initial prefabricated wooden elements is in full progress.

Around 76 percent of the structure will be constructed from wood. Once finished, Hoho Wien will house a hotel, apartments, a restaurant, a wellness centre and offices.

All included, HoHo Vienna comprises five structures with between six and twenty-four floors. The shell construction of the basement extending under the entire development and that of the underground car park have been completed. The solid concrete core is now being built and timber installation is in full swing. Assembly work is scheduled to take one and a half weeks per floor.

The solid timber walls will never be distinguishable as such from the outside, since a moisture barrier will have been applied to each of the individual elements before they leave the factory to protect against weathering.

The tower that forms part of the HoHo Vienna project has one major strength: lots of building parts are prefabricated in the factory where weather conditions can be left out of account. As a result, numerous procedures are no longer necessary on the construction site itself. The HoHo Wien system, which is kept deliberately "simple", stacks up four prefabricated, serial building elements: supports, joist, ceiling panels and facade elements.

In a recent interview - available in full here - Caroline Palfy, Managing Director of the real estate developer Cetus Baudevelopment, illustrates the peculiarities of such a large-volume timber project.

"The preparations and construction with wood are a tricky business, since ready solutions are not forthcoming in all areas," explains Ms Palfy. "It's all about developing new things and using them – and that's what makes this project so exciting."

"I keep getting asked whether our timber resources are jeopardised by the current timber boom in the construction industry. In Austria, forests produce 30 million cubic metres of timber a year, of which 26 million cubic metres are logged. The remaining 4 million cubic metres remain in the forest, continually increasing timber stocks. In other words, 1 cubic metre of wood grows back every second and thus the timber used for the entire HoHo Vienna project will have grown back in our country's forests in only one hour and 17 minutes."

"True to the motto 'It's time to clock off and no one wants to go home', HoHo Vienna caters to all the wishes of a new generation of blue-collar workers, white-collar employees and self-employed. The office of the future breaks completely new ground. New features are brought into league with wood, a traditional material, creating a relaxed and homey atmosphere. That is precisely our vision."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/worlds-tallest-timber-building-hoho-tower-taking-shape-vienna]

David Birkbeck appointed as ambassador and chair of Wood For Good

Wood For Good, the timber industry’s campaign established to promote the use of timber in design and construction, has appointed a new ambassador and committee chair.

David Birkbeck (pictured on the left), Design for Homes’ chief executive, is to lead the Wood for Good campaign, taking over from Craig White, who has been involved since 2013.

David has been at the helm of Design for Homes since 2000. He incorporated it as a social enterprise to promote what works best in housing and campaigns for homes to be better designed and produced in greater volumes.

David will use his extensive experience and industry networks to help Wood for Good push for new opportunities to position timber as a first-choice material in construction, from interiors through to large scale commercial projects.

Discussing the current housing situation in the UK, David says: “Everyone knows the country can’t get anywhere near the level of production it needs without more companies and more solutions in the supply chain."

“The next few years should offer a range of platforms for the timber industry to show its potential and help tackle an increasingly corrosive problem - access to a home."

Christiane Lellig, campaign director for Wood for Good says: “Craig has done a fantastic job with Wood for Good over the past four years and we are lucky to have him as a continued friend to the campaign."

“We are very pleased to have David on board. With the continuing development and growing support for the timber industry, David’s experience and knowledge complements our values and objectives perfectly.”

Craig White says: “During my time with Wood for Good, interest in new timber technologies and methods of construction has grown rapidly. The timber industry is perfectly placed to meet this shifting market demand and Wood for Good will continue to provide valuable support.”

Wood for Good’s objective is to make wood a first-choice material for specifiers and designers by demonstrating that wood is a versatile building material with numerous application possibilities beyond traditional use."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/david-birkbeck-appointed-ambassador-and-chair-wood-good]

STA launches 'Time for Timber' podcast

The Structural Timber Association (STA) has launched 'Time for Timber', a series of interviews with high-profile construction professionals about features, projects and potentialities of the Structural Timber Industry. 

The podcasts - freely downloadable on iTunes and AudioBoom - can be listened to ‘on the go’ from mobiles or other portable devices.

The first Podcast features Tim Snelson, Associate Director for Arup - a company that offers multi-disciplinary design, with Architecture and Engineering services. This unique fusion of engineering and architecture enables Arup to develop technologically advanced design that is appropriate, economic - sensitive to both environmental and human needs. In this inaugural Podcast, Tim Snelson discusses the opportunities for timber to provide smart solutions to the current and future challenges in the construction industry.

To listen to the full interview, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=1278961345&i=1000391820214

Android users can access the podcast by entering this link in to a podcast app: https://audioboom.com/posts/6263332-ep-1-tim-snelson-of-arup

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/sta-launches-time-timber-podcast]

Timber and joinery products drive positive trend for UK builders merchants' sales

The latest data released in the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) confirms a continuing positive trend for UK builders merchants with Q2 sales increasing by 5.3% compared to Q2 2016.

The actual Q2 year on year sales figure (for 61 days trading compared to 63 in 2016) is still positive at +1.9%. Year to date sales figures to June are 3.8% higher than for 2016, a period with the same number of trading days.

Significantly, value growth year on year for the first half of 2017 was driven by the major categories of Timber and Joinery (+4.6% – particularly Cladding and Stairs and Stair Parts) and Heavy Building Materials (+4.1% – primarily Lintels, Roofing Products and Bricks and Blocks). In the picture here you can see the development of timber and joinery products' sales.

Nigel Cox, Managing Director Timbmet and BMBI’s Expert for Timber & Panel Products, commented: "Our view in Quarter 1 was that the market for Timber and Panel Products looked promising and that we should be optimistic for the year. In reality the second quarter has been more challenging than expected." 

"The run up to the election and the surprise result created uncertainty and confusion - and political uncertainty, whether domestic or foreign, continues to influence trade and impact our markets. At best we can say quarter two’s performance was flat. The market for hardwood timber though is stable with no major supply issues."

"European oak remains popular and with the traditional summer closing of the mills, the supply chain will slow and there could be a short term impact on stocks during August and September. The OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sector is still difficult and is feeling the effects of shortages as demand continues to outstrip supply."

"Prices remain volatile and continue to rise. Additional production capacity will ease the situation as we enter 2018. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) supply chain shortages eased slightly in Quarter 2 compared to the previous quarter but product availability has stayed on allocation which in turn leads to continued pricing pressure."

"The well-publicised and tragic fire at Grenfell Tower has shaken our industry and raised concern over building regulations and standards. Various timber and panel products are fire treated and the increased demand is impacting on the lead time for treated products. Merchants are encouraged to check availability well in advance of requirements. In summary, we had a bumpy second quarter and the outlook for the next three months is modest."

The complete BMBI report can be downloaded here.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/timber-and-joinery-products-drive-positive-trend-uk-builders-merchants-sales]

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