Martin Tamke speaks at Build in Wood .

Building with timber might allow for more specific and surprising architectural solutions

Martin Tamke is a professor at The Royal Danish Academy. He is giving a talk at Build in Wood 18.-19. May. At Build in Wood Martin Tamke talks about a tighter link across the value chain from forest to timber and about the research project, RawLam by the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture.

In this article, you can read and interview with Martin Tamke.

How do you work with wood?  

The focus in Timber research at CITA (Centre for Information Technology and Architecture) has been on the development of tools and workflows, which inform design of architects and engineers with knowledge about woods behaviour and fabrication. Working through 1:1 prototypes and with Timber fabricators and architects our recent work investigates GluLam as composite material, with designed material behaviours, computational strategies for manufacturing and assembly planning for timber constructions. 

Martin Tamke. Photo: Magnus Mikkelsen

What do you like about wood as a building material?  

Timber is an amazing multiscale fibre composite where every scale has extraordinary performative capacities.   

In your opinion, what are the biggest dilemmas within wood construction right now?  

Nordic urban regions have signed up for the necessary reduction in CO2 emissions, with the building sector being a main contributor. Some cities, such as Malmö, started a joint effort towards climate positive buildings and neighbourhoods. This emission level means, that in practice only wooden core construction buildings are able to meet the target. However, while these steps have political support and are as well welcomed by real estate companies and investors the necessary scaling up of timber industry is not only met by resistance of other industries in the building sector but increases the pressure on the biome and communities in forest areas. Here the increase in demand for high quality building timber takes place simultaneously with a global increase in demand for biomaterials and fibres. How can the increase in demand for timber take place in a sustainable manner? 

What are the architectural possibilities and challenges of wood? 

Timber has great crafts- and architectural tradition in all areas of the world with very specific expressions due to local sourcing. The ongoing climate catastrophe forces us to reinvent practices of local sourcing and circularity. This bears a chance to develop a larger degree of specificity again.  Panning through architectural magazines it seems however, as if there is only way of building larger scale timber structures. An increase in local expertise, foresight and ambition among all stakeholders involved in building with timber might allow for more specific and surprising architectural solutions.  

What do you talk about at Build in Wood?

My talk for Build in wood will present our research into a linkage between the digital processes in timber production with those in forestry, which allows for more resource efficient use of tree material as well as new bespoke material practices and expressions in timber architecture.  

Do you want to know more about Martin Tamke and wood in sustainable construction? 

Hear Martin Tamke’s presentation and learn more about wood in sustainable construction at Build in Wood i Copenhagen 18.-19. May 2021. Find the program og learn more here or sign up here.

Top image: Tree to product, RawLam, The Royal Danish Academy

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