Jonas Sangberg: Let’s start with smaller projects instead of erecting Europe’s highest wood building

10/06/2020 Emmilie Hansen

Jonas Sangberg is Creative Director & Owner at SANGBERG, and he is speaking at Build in Wood 25-26 August. Jonas Sangberg is one of the speakers at the track Architectural Value, where you get presented with 3 opinions to how wood can and should act as an architectural driver. Jonas Sangberg will talk about the flexibility of wood and how SANGBERG aims at exploiting the qualities of wood when designing for the future.

In this post, you can read an interview with Jonas Sangberg.

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

Given that the construction industry accounts for 40% of society’s energy consumption, 35% of material consumption and 30% of waste production, it is an absolute no brainer to focus on the construction industry in order to reduce our energy consumption, fight climate changes and fulfill the ambitions of a CO2 neutral society. Wood is one of the most climate-friendly materials you can build with and increasing the use of wood as building material is a major step on the road towards a less fossil-dependent construction industry and a more sustainable society.

How do you and SANGBERG work with wood?

We pursue an overall strategy which we call ‘The Future is Light’, where we focus on decreasing the environmental impact of our projects by building with sustainable and CO2 neutral materials. We are currently involved in three wood projects. Firstly, we are engaged in Agorahaverne, a sustainable, community-based housing project for senior citizens, that we have developed with Tetris A/S. The first project is currently under construction in Slagelse, but the plan is to spread the concept all over Denmark in the coming years. And on the German island Helgoland, we have just finished 68 climate-friendly apartments, that are made of prefab wooden modules, and we are also working on one of the major social housing organizations first wood project.

From your perspective, what are the opportunities of building with wood?

Building in wood has a positive impact on a personal, industrial and society level. Besides a positive impact on CO2 emissions, building in wood also means rapid construction times; a reduction in the need for transportation of construction materials and the associated carbon emissions; a cleaner and more efficient construction site; greater precision with offsite manufacturing; simple construction techniques and tools; using renewable building materials that also can be easily disassembled and recycled at the end of the building’s lifespan. Timber is also hygroscopic and great for regulating humidity, having a positive impact on indoor air quality.

From your perspective, why don’t we use more wood in construction than we do today? What are the challenges?

Lack of knowledge regarding how to build in wood and very few Danish completed wood projects means that stakeholders within the building industry are relatively reluctant to build in wood. This also means that there is still an underdeveloped infrastructure for wood constructions. Even though I’m convinced that we have to build more in wood, this is a new journey that the building industry has to embark upon, and there will be lots of questions that have to be answered, and new methods that have to be implemented. But on the other hand, we don’t have to start from scratch, and I suggest that we look to other countries and learn from them. And – I can’t stress this enough – we have to use wood where it makes sense. And let’s start with smaller projects that we can control, instead of erecting Europe’s highest wood building for a start. As we start building more in wood on a national level, we will become gradually wiser, and then we will be able to build higher and bigger.

How do you think the industry for wooden constructions will develop within the next 5-10 years?

The increased focus on sustainability has led to an equally increased focus on wood constructions, and you just have to follow your newsfeed to see that all stakeholders in the construction value chain are pushing the wood agenda forward. The Danish housing minister has proclaimed that a new sustainability class will become mandatory in the building regulations in 2022, and this will probably lead to an increase in wood building in Denmark. Within that timespan we will also have finished projects that we can learn from and have developed an infrastructure that will push wood constructions even further.

What do you hope the outcome for the participants at Build in Wood is?

First of all it’s my hope that everyone will be inspired, learn more about the possibilities as well as the challenges and realize that building in wood isn’t much harder that more conventional building methods. Furthermore, I hope, that we can create new partnerships across the entire value chain, and together ignite the build in wood revolution that I see is already emerging.

Do you want to hear more about the architectural value of wood?

Join us at Build in Wood at Docken on 25-26 August and hear Jonas Sangberg’s presentation on the flexibility of wood.

Sign up here!

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