Vivekabhilash Sharma talks about the universality of wooden buildings
“Earth”, this third rock from the sun that we call home, has cradled, fed and nurtured us for millennia by letting us use all its resources. But the rate at which we have gone on to exploit its resources in the last couple of centuries has really put a big stress on our planet’s health. Melting ice, rising temperature, acidic oceans, polluted air in the cities, scarcity of drinking water, and random extreme weather are just some of the signs of imbalance in nature and the biggest culprits are us humans. In our pursuit of growth, we have mindlessly and selfishly exploited the resources available on our planet. One of the biggest needs of humans is the need for habitat. While the rest of the living world sees nature as its habitat, we humans need buildings that shield us from nature. As we grow in numbers, our need for the same also grows and so does the exploitation of resources to be able to construct those buildings.
Impact on the environment and harmony with nature has always been a key consideration in architecture but in the last century, we somehow, somewhere lost the narrative in a race to move humanity into cities. We found and created materials that allowed us to build faster, bigger and cheaper, which were key considerations. Our cities expanded and we gradually turned from “herds to hordes”, putting further stress on our resources. Although in the last few decades, we have started looking seriously at the sustainability of how we build our habitats, our approach is half cooked. We evaluate our buildings for in-use carbon, but do not consider the embodied carbon. Instead of evaluating sustainability from cradle to grave, we just consider the in-use life of our building materials.
We are running out of concrete (water + sand + rocks) to build. We have gone deeper and further to mine metals. All this is not renewable and certainly unsustainable. The time has come when we start relooking at materials that have been the mainstay of our construction practices for centuries. A material that is infinitely renewable in the short term and with the help of modern engineering techniques is turning out to be the best material to build with.
It is high time to pay attention to WOOD because "Wood is Good". It is, in fact, the only alternative building material that will be proved sustainable in the longer run. We at Artius after rigorous study, research and local adaption of modern engineering wood technology, have been able to establish the right methodology, species and practices to manufacture new age materials like Glulam Timber and Cross Laminated Timber for Indian climatic conditions. We are all set to mark our presence by building large span multi-level structures for premium residences, boutique resorts and buildings that convey a message and contribute to build greener and healthier built environments.
From Glulam window and door systems, Artius naturally progressed to build mid-rise structures, using this phenomenal material and aims at building Timber Skyscrapers in the near future!
Artius is the Sustainable Architecture Partner of The Times of India Design X. To know more, visit www.toi-dx.com
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