Everyone is talking about timber buildings, but until a few years ago no one would have thought of using timber to build a skyscraper or a large office building. It took only a few years to transform timber from an “unknown material” to the “material of the future” because it is sustainable and because it stores tons of CO2. Now is truly the era for a renaissance in timber, the ultimate renewable resource.
About 25 years ago in Austria, they invented what is called Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and no doubt it is one of the most important product developments within the timber industry in the past 40 years. We think it is one of the most important also for the building industry. The following diagram is impressive and it shows the total production in the world.
Advances in the building industry are hard to find, and construction needs to be modernized to resolve many issues, including lagging productivity. Can the mere choice of a specific material be sufficient? No it can’t, timber is just one of many ways to get to the end point but it is necessary to fundamentally change our practices which requires the adoption of the most modern technologies. In order to secure the considerable gains in productivity it is essential couple innovations in timber products, like CLT, with technology. Essentially the message is “It is time to digitize all the processes!”
A few it companies are intending to advance building technology even to the extent of developing their new HQs using timber systems, but one of them in particular is leading the way in terms of digitization of the process also. Google with its sister company called “Sidewalk Labs” has a forward thinking project in Toronto by which they propose a full district in Mass Timber. We have personally visited their HQ several times in Toronto and have met them to explore the nature of changing and transforming the construction sector. Google is demonstrating that timber + technology can modernize the building industry and they are doing this with a disruptive project which goes far beyond mere sustainability.
Ergodomus Timber Engineering has been working in transforming the global construction market for more than 10 years and we are so happy not to be alone and not to be seen as day dreamers anymore. We strongly believe that new technologies must be adopted soon if we want to help our world to get better. Timber is a fantastic material but in order to engineer it in the right way it is necessary to have a great know-how which can not be acquired in a few months or (worse) weeks since this is material is truly unique and it deserves to be respected since it is always alive! Therefore we think that the right expression is
5 things to know about the Sidewalk Toronto project: