Patrick Stremler: Wood will be the future

06/05/2019 Emmilie Hansen

Since the foundation, timber plays an essential role in the architecture of Austrian Dietrich | Untertrifaller. The strong relationship between architects, craftsmen and open minded clients in Vorarlberg has nourished the rapid change from traditional to high-tech timber construction. In this post, you can read an interview with Patrick Stremler, Managing Partner, Dietrich | Untertrifaller.

Patrick Stremler will give a lecture at Build in Wood 2019. The lecture will compare projects in Vorarlberg in Austria and abroad, and Patrick will focus on challenges and decisions within planning and building processes.


What is your perspective on wood and its role for green transition?

Timber is potentially the most important building material of the 21st century. Serving as both structural and finish material, it delivers strength and safety – offering flexibility and light-weight. It is easy to handle and significantly reduces construction time and cost. Moreover, it conveys natural warmth and beauty. Sourced responsibly, timber reduces transportation expenses and provides sustainable and renewable building material of lasting value and durability. As carbon emissions are only a fraction of those produced by steel or concrete manufacturing, energy efficiency of timber construction helps mediate the challenges of climate change. In architectural terms, mass timber offers exciting design possibilities; spanning the full spectrum of building typologies, large and small.


How does Dietrich | Untertrifaller work with wood?

Dietrich | Untertrifaller (DU) comes from a long tradition of timber construction in Austria and more specifically the Vorarlberg region. The region is known for setting standards worldwide in design and quality execution of its timber architecture, where architects and craftsmen for centuries worked in close collaboration designing and handcrafting exemplary wooden buildings with precision and care. We are continuing this tradition, engaging in intense dialogue with manufacturers, craftsmen, consultants and clients developing innovative solutions for incorporating mass timber into many of our projects. The office has used timber construction for a wide-ranging building typologies from private homes, schools, sports facilities, museums to multi-story commercial buildings, and large-scale residential structures, exhibiting the possibilities and a modern vision for using a traditional building material. Widely acclaimed for its achievements, DU has won a myriad of international awards for timber architecture.


What are the challenges and opportunities of building with wood?

From my perspective, wood will be the future, this is without question. Progress in planning and building methods is achieved on high speed. The challenges we are facing are more on the building-code and approval side. In many regions, where timber construction is not so common, we sense a certain distrust towards the material. Often, governments are pushing timber, but the administration is not yet ready.


From your perspective, how far is the building industry with sustainability?

Not very far. We don’t feel a general commitment towards a more sustainable world. The building industry is very profit oriented. Most developers don’t think far ahead. In reality, we are building projects that influence our life socially and environmentally – today and throughout the entire lifetime of the building. This has to be taken into account within a responsible acting.


What will you be talking about at Build in Wood 2019, and will there be any specific key take-aways?

My presentation will be about the possibilities and challenges in the realization of timber projects. Based on examples in Vorarlberg and less timber oriented regions, I will bring an overview of realized and planned projects and go into detail with our School in Höchst, Vorarlberg and Lamballe, France


Are you a timber nerd, and do you have a friend or a colleague who should also attend at Build in Wood 2019?

Go ahead and sign up here!

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