Metsä Wood and London South Bank University set out to change perceptions among future architects

10 March 2016

The benefits of engineered timber as a construction material were the topic of discussion at an event that brought together architecture students and leading architects.

‘Urban Wood: An Alternative Architecture event was hosted by London South Bank University (LSBU) and was attended by more than 100 practitioners, as well as architecture students and professors.

A collaborative project between Metsä Wood and LSBU, the purpose of the event was to present and discuss alternatives to preferred materials, such as concrete, steel and brick.

The event also marked the launch of a design project between Metsä Wood and architectural students at LSBU. Students have been challenged to identify how timber, (as a more cost effective and flexible building material), could be used to restore old or iconic buildings in London.

The project is designed to challenge perceptions of the next generation of architects so that timber is seen as a true alternative in everything from structures to exteriors and its potential for the city buildings of the future. Students will present their designs in June, with Metsä Wood awarding a prize for the winning concept.

The thought-provoking seminar began with a brief introduction from Metsä Wood’s head of technical, engineering and design, Frank Werling, who presented some of the types of modern engineered timber materials available, including the KERTO Laminated Venner Lumbar (LVL) range, I-BEAM Joists and Glulam beams.

Werling spoke of the Plan B project and how Metsä Wood is re-imagining famous architectural designs, including the Empire State Building, the Reichstag and the Coliseum, explaining how these iconic buildings could be constructed using modern day engineered wood.

Guest speakers included Jon Broome (Jon Broome Architects), Andrew Waugh (Waugh Thistleton), and Professor Alex de Rijke (dRMM Architects). These industry-leading architects presented how engineered wood is being used in some of their most innovative projects and how this sustainable, flexible and cost effective material is becoming more widely adopted in modern day construction.