Tai Hollingsbee: Timber Is The Building Tool Of The Future  


A renowned design engineer believes the future for building and construction is held in one of our most natural resources -timber.

Tai Hollingsbee, principal of sustainable and performative design at engineering company GHD said that through computational tools, the role of timber in buildings and structures has become hyper-efficient.

"This has allowed timber to be used in a variety of ways that was never possible before.

"I see timber as one of the pathways where we can address resource efficiency, energy efficiency, living better and healthier,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

An example of this is the EXPAN system. It is

capable of building standard commercial building grids of a certain length in a way that was not previously possible.

The system allows for the engineered timber to possess the strength of steel while keeping the style of timber.

Timber is seen as more efficient than steel and concrete in life-cycle analysis. It is also seen as having a low ecological impact compared to other materials. According to Architecture and Design, “it is the only sustainable structural construction material of scale.”

The trend for using materials is shifting towards ones that anyone can buy and build and it is what Mr Hollingsbee says is the “democratisation of design.”

The evolution of digital design and manufacturing has erased some of the barriers of the production of high-end engineering. This removes some of the roles played by architects and builders.

This evolution has allowed the everyday consumer to bypass traditional processes and regulations of production. It is a process similar to the concept of IKEA.

The entire process is seen as a natural progression of market factors and technological evolution. Prices will get cheaper and the means of production become more easily accessible.

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