Wood Construction and Design

Photo courtesy of the Prairie Wood Design Awards

Wood-based construction isn’t just the sustainable way to go – the results can be incredibly beautiful. As you might expect in a province that’s over 60% forest, architectural gems built with wood can be found all across Alberta.

Timber is strong enough to be used as a structural element. It’s also aesthetically versatile – wooden structures can look charmingly rustic or clean and modern. Alberta architects, engineers and interior designers have created stunning buildings of all kinds using wood.

As Canadian architect Michael Green shares in his TED Talk, no two pieces of wood anywhere on earth are exactly the same. That unique, organic quality brings the wonder of nature into our buildings and reminds us that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves, a beautiful and complex natural environment that sustains all life on Earth. People connect with natural materials like wood in a way that’s hard to match with any other kind of material.

Technological advancements are also allowing us to be more and more ambitious with wood construction. Mass timber products, which are made by bonding smaller wood components together with fire-resistant glue, can now be made just as strong as concrete or steel at a fraction of the weight. Materials like that, as well as innovations in how we use more traditional wood products in construction, are allowing us to safely build larger and taller wood structures. The Mjøsa Tower in Norway is currently the world’s tallest at 18 storeys, and Alberta building codes were recently adjusted to allow wood structures up to 12 storeys.