Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World

What is the first impression that strikes our mind when we think of creating a building from wood? We usually think that wooden structures can be only small huts, cottages and other primitive building types. However, the world has evolved forward our likeness for the basic assumptions related to the use of wood in modern architecture. Wood has proved to be the only carbon-neutral material, so if your house contains 20 cubic meters of wood, it will save 16 tonnes of carbon emissions. Its versatility of up to 5000 kinds of wood broadens our creativity to choose from a diverse range of hues, colours, textures, strength, and other structural, mechanical, and physical properties.

To dive deeper into the fabulous Wooden Structures examples, here are 10 projects as follows:

1. Metropolis Parasol

Architect: J.Mayer.H und Partner
Location: Seville, Spain
Year: 2011

This one the Wooden Structure consists of six large timber parasols shadowing the Plaza de la Encarnación and protecting an archaeological site. The parasols are constructed in a mushroom-shaped timber lattice that creates shadows to move continuously throughout the day. It is the largest timber-based structure in the world with no element of any parasol to be found identical due to the computer-generated design. It also incorporates socio-cultural activities and showcases the archaeological collection of history.

Six linked parasols cover the square of Plaza de la Encarnació creating a space with four permeable levels. The use of wood in this structure provides shade and thermal comfort in the spiking hot climate of Spain. After experimentations, a micro-laminated wood ‘Kerto’ was chosen to design and construct this landmark for the city.

Technical Details- Joinery details ©Metropol Parasol. Photo courtesy: Fernando Alda

A timber veneer of 3mm with a waterproof polyurethane coating was used in the joint system to give a higher shear strength than solid wood. Connection details are based on 3000 nodes of glued-in steel bars. The waffle-like structure became the definition of a ‘cathedral without walls’ as desired by the German architect Jürgen Mayer H.

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
Views over Andalusian capital ©Dave Curry’s Travels

Also, Read The Acropolis Museum by Bernard Tschumi Architects

2. SunnyHills Minami Aoyama Store

Architect: Kengo Kuma & Associates
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Year: 2013

Night View of SunnyHills ©tokyobelly.blogspot.com (Steve, 2014)

Famous for its Taiwanese dessert, this shop’s design is inspired by a bamboo basket. However, it looks like a cloud of wood hovering in comparison to the stiff and solid concrete blocks in its context. Light filters through the lattice structure, enhancing the quality of the interior.

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
Well-lit interior of SunnyHills ©Gallery of SunnyHills at Minami-Aoyama / Kengo Kuma & Associates

The joints are formed by the traditional Japanese technique Jiigoku-Gumimi. Interestingly the joints are created three-dimension at a 30-degree angle instead of the typical planar muntin grid.

Joint system detail ©Gallery of SunnyHills at Minami-Aoyama / Kengo Kuma & Associates

Also read: Top 10 Iconic Buildings in the World

3. Swatch Headquarters

Architect: Shigeru Ban
Location: Biel, Switzerland
Year: 2019

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
The Vault- Swatch HQ ©Swatch, Shigeru Ban Creates One of the World’s Largest Timber Structures for Swatch Headquarters in Biel

The façade of this Wooden Structure serves as a connection between Swatch and Cité du Temps. Also, 4600 timber elements, mainly spruce, are used in its construction with a precision of 0.1 mm through computer engineering. The wood acts as an ecological and sustainable part of the building, consuming only a part of the Swiss forest that takes less than two hours to regrow.

Exterior Zoom-in ©Swatch, Shigeru Ban Creates One of the World’s Largest Timber Structures for Swatch Headquarters in Biel

The structure is wired with a complex mesh of cables. 2800 honeycomb panels of timber were worked on as 50 individual elements. So that the three different types of honeycomb panels are opaque, translucent, and transparent elements. However, each element with its distinct function of thermal insulation, weather resistance, natural light, opening for smoke extraction, and photovoltaic cells, shows the sensitivity and depth of thought put into the design.

Interior Hues & space contrast ©Swatch, Shigeru Ban Creates One of the World’s Largest Timber Structures for Swatch Headquarters in Biel
View projection from the HQ ©Swatch, Shigeru Ban Creates One of the World’s Largest Timber Structures for Swatch Headquarters in Biel.
Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
Entrance lobby- Glass, steel & wood ©Swatch, Shigeru Ban Creates One of the World’s Largest Timber Structures for Swatch Headquarters in Biel

Also, Read Biomimicry Architecture: Eastgate centre – Harare, Zimbabwe

4. Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Architect: Studio Gang
Location: Kalamazoo, United States
Year: 2014

Façade of the Arcus Center; Photo courtesy: Steve Hall for Hedrich Blessing (Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Studio Gang ©ArchDaily

The centre engages the community in an active discussion of human rights and social justice. As a result, the centre works as a meeting place for the faculty, students, social justice leaders, and public representatives to share and commute their ideas.

The design transforms the language of its purpose into construction techniques and visual aesthetics. However, the traditional method of wall masonry falls into the immediate context of the grove landscape. The use of logs shows the density and diversity of people in a community as a design concept. It also acts as a load-bearing wall with insulation properties. The traditional technique seizes carbon to turn the façade into a high-performance building envelope.

Exterior; Photo courtesy: Steve Hall for Hedrich Blessing (Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Studio Gang ©ArchDaily
Interior; Photo courtesy: Steve Hall for Hedrich Blessing (Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Studio Gang ©ArchDaily
Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
Detail; Photo courtesy: Iwan Baan (Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Studio Gang ©ArchDaily

5. Anaklia-Ganmuhkuri Pedestrian Bridge

Architect: LAP Consult
Location: Tbilisi, Georgia
Year: 2012

The bridge extends over 500 meters over the river Enguri which flows into the Black Sea and is of the finest Wooden Structures in the world. The bridge serves as a connection between the town of Ganmuhkuri and the Gregorian resort of Anaklia. It is constructed of laminated timber which makes it eco-friendly, and steel. It is the longest footbridge in Europe with timber trusses joined by slotted plates and dowel joints.

Anaklia-Ganmuhkuri footbridge, Anaklia-Ganmuhkuri Pedestrian Bridge ©Architizer
Local chestnut walkway board, Anaklia-Ganmuhkuri Pedestrian Bridge ©Architizer
Timber trusses at a 45-degree joint; Anaklia-Ganmukhuri Pedestrian Bridge ©hess-timber.com

Also, Read Top 10 Iconic Buildings in the World

6. The Globe of Science and Innovation

Architect: Hervé Dessimoz of Groupe-H Architects
Location: CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Year: 2010

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
The Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN ©Dinika, 2017

Designed for the Science exhibition of 2010 at CERN, the Globe of Science and Innovation turned out to be the tallest dome made of timber at 27 m in height and 40m in diameter. The structure encloses the exhibition designed by Atelier Buckner on the concept of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The structure encouraging sustainability uses state-of-art technology to generate an interactive display for the audience.

Interior of the Globe ©CERN, Universe of Particles

7. Cathedral of Christ the Light

Architect: SOM
Location: Oakland, United States
Year: 2008

Play of light, Gallery of The Cathedral of Christ the Light ©SOM

The cathedral is a high-rise building designed by the architectural firm famous for its tall structures and landmarks like Burj Dubai. The cathedral uses a hybrid structure of fly ash concrete, timber, and steel to last 1000 years. The use of seismic techniques, including base isolation, also ensures durability. The bending and returning properties of wood add to the strength and aesthetics of the contemporary structure.

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
Exterior, Gallery of The Cathedral of Christ the Light ©SOM
Interior of the Cathedral, Gallery of The Cathedral of Christ the Light ©SOM

Also, Read What is 3D printing technology? How it is used in Architecture?

8. China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015

Architect: Studio Link-Arc
Location: Milan, Italy
Year: 2015

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
China Pavilion exterior; Photo courtesy: Sergio Grazia, China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 ©Studio Link-Arc

The pavilion based on the concept of the ‘Land of Hope’ displays the harmony of the city and nature. The materials and sequence of space illustrate the cultural ethics and traditional techniques of China in the most modern way.

China Pavilion- Land of Hope; Photo courtesy: Sergio Grazia (China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015, ©Studio Link-Arc

The wood shingles in the roof refer to the tradition of the pottery method of roof construction. The shingles have slits to induce a play of light while providing shade to the public, imitating the bamboo leaves. An interactive digital exhibition of the landscape of wheat speaks for the pavilion’s concept leading to the agrarian roots of the country. Thus, wood supports the cultural context, as well as the structure.

Top 10 fabulous Wooden Structures in the World
China Pavilion interior; Photo courtesy: Sergio Grazia, China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 ©Studio Link-Arc

9. Grotto Sauna

Architect: Partisans
Location: Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada
Year: 2014

CNC generated interior; ©Jonathan Friedman (Grotto Sauna / Partisans, 2019)

After scanning the granite cliff with the Leica 3D laser scanner, the team sculpted the rock in a variety of options which becomes fir laser canned structure among all Wooden Structures. The concept of a grotto is taken to come up with design solutions. The exterior merges with the contextual background, whereas the interior blends in with the contours.

Sunset at the Sauna ©Jonathan Friedman (Grotto Sauna / Partisans, 2019)

The grotto sauna uses cedar wood as the core material because of its colour, odour, local availability, quality, and resistance to rot. There is an energy-efficient aluminium foil placed between the wood and its mount to help the wood expand due to heat. The wood is allowed to breathe through the slits in seating via the convective flow of air. The fans and vents make sure that there is no mould in the structure, while the interior remains tightly sealed.

Sauna interior ©Jonathan Friedman (Grotto Sauna / Partisans, 2019)
Interior details ©Jonathan Friedman (Grotto Sauna / Partisans, 2019)

Also, Read 10 upcoming Futuristic Projects in the world: A Glimpse into Architecture of the time to come

10. The HAUT

Architect: Team V Architects
Location: The Netherlands
Year: 2021

Realized visual of the HAUT ©Team V Architects (The Netherlands’ Tallest Timber Tower to Be Built in Amsterdam, 2016)

The tallest wooden building to be constructed in the Netherlands along the bank of river Amstel 73-meter (21-story) to trap over 3 million kilos of CO2. It will be the second tallest timber structure in Europe. The HAUT aims to achieve the BREEAM Outstanding label with a net-zero carbon footprint construction. The building will have an energy-generating façade which makes it different from all Wooden Structures, an urban winter garden, an indoor public farm, cycle storage, and underground parking with 55 apartment units.

Interior of the HAUT ©Team V Architects (The Netherlands’ Tallest Timber Tower to Be Built in Amsterdam, 2016)

Also, Read Are The Skins of Larger Buildings Prefabricated?

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