The new thinking of wood as a highly modern and changeable building material, capable of handling complex architectural tasks, has just begun. But can wood also deliver on the promise of being a "sustainable" building material? The contributions in GAM.17 "Wood. Rethinking Material" re-evaluate wood as an architectural material and discuss its potential for a more climate-friendly building industry from the perspectives of cultural history, ecology, trade policy, construction and aesthetics. The Faculty of Architecture at TU Graz presented GAM.17 on Tuesday, 18th May 2021.
Decarbonization through wood
"We have to stop building concrete," demands climate researcher Joachim Schellnhuber, calling for an imminent, urgently needed construction revolution in which CO2-intensive building materials such as steel and concrete are to be replaced by wood or bamboo as soon as possible. However, a scenario in which the use of wood as a building material could be significantly increased is only possible and sensible if the forests are also managed sustainably and carefully in the future.
Guest edited by the timber constructor Tom Kaden, who holds the endowed professorship for timber construction at the Faculty of Architecture at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), GAM.17 asks the broader question of whether the decarbonization of the construction industry, which is currently being discussed under the concept of sustainability, can be achieved with the building material wood. The current issue of GAM approaches its topic once again with GAM's own critical scientific eye from a multidisciplinary perspective. Wood as a material and its uses are linked to cultural traditions as well as being the subject of a specific industrial form with its own economy and political history. It would not be in the spirit of GAM to dodge difficult or even unpopular questions. Does the sustainability debate, which the material wood likes to take up, really take us a step further or does it rather obscure the view of extended approaches to solutions? Readers of GAM.17 can look forward to answers.
GAM.17 is published with contributions by Reyner Banham, Alan Crivellaro, Formafantasma, Don Fuchs, Urs Hirschberg, Anne Isopp, Tom Körner, Jens Ludloff, Flavio Ruffinatto, Laila Seewang, Kai Strehlke, Stephan Trüby, Anselm Wagner, Stefan Winter and Francesca Zanotto.
More detailed information can be found on the website of TU Graz’s Faculty of Architecture.