Canada is a forest nation with a tradition of building with wood. That tradition is being constantly applied and re-invented as new design ideas come to the fore, new technologies and products are introduced, and as the inherent sustainable qualities of wood are starting take on importance.
Written over several years by architect [and SABMag editor] Jim Taggart, FRAIC, the book reviews our wood building heritage, moves into a helpful discussion of how building codes have regarded wood construction and what lays in store in light of technology and new product introductions, and then offers a pleasing journey through recent wood buildings under the themes of aboriginal and regional influences. The chapter on climate change neatly summarizes the role of wood in carbon storage and embodied energy.
Taggart says that the impetus for the book came from his 2005 interview with Austrian professor and renowned timber engineer Julius Natterer who spoke about constructive environmentalism as the relationship between wood use, sustainable forest management, and the mitigation of climate change. Taggart devotes a chapter to it to express the concept to the reader in actual, and exciting, building examples.
The book concludes with Taggart’s Back to the Future views of where wood construction is going as material and building life cycle assessment becomes a major factor in building design, and as wood buildings reach skyward with the advent of cross-laminated timber [CLT] construction – a term that may well become very familiar.
That Taggart is foremost an architect shows in the buildings he has selected for the book, and the inclusion of interesting and relevant drawings. Many of the photographs are as beautiful as the buildings. Taggart has thought a lot about his subject over several years, and his writing is thoughtful and authoritative. This book does justice to our forest nation, and to our past and future in wood architecture.
144 pages soft cover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-9739122-7-2. Abacus Editions and Janam Publications. Order at www.sabmagazine.com, or 1-800-520-6281, x301