Let's build the future – with wood

Published 18 April 2019
In 2025, the global population is expected to reach eight billion. Today, over half the world's population lives in towns and cities, and the migration from rural areas to urban centers is expected to increase. This is a challenge and opportunity for the building industry. Porte Brancion in Paris is a good example of an urban solution.

Building in cities, with limited space and dense population, is not a simple task. Special consideration needs to be given to, among other aspects, where to build, how to build in a sustainable way and what materials to use. Stora Enso promotes carbon-neutral and renewable construction solutions for residential housing and commercial buildings, from wood.

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is five times lighter than concrete and 15 times lighter than steel – and as strong. CLT also has a better strength-to-weight ratio. Building with massive wood components shortens the construction time and produces less waste and noise, which are also important points to consider in an urban environment.

In the future, cities will likely need to build upwards more and more and, in many cases, on top of railways, motorways or even major drainage tunnels. There will additionally be more storeys added, or “top-ups”, to already existing buildings.

An interesting example of urban construction is Porte Brancion in Paris. The project includes three blocks which will contain student and young professional apartments, shops and a sports complex. It is being built over the Paris ring motorway, Périphérique, with planned completion at the end of 2021.

The Porte Brancion plan, by the developer Woodeum and architects Hardel and Le Bihan, won a competition arranged by the city of greater Paris. The architectural plan highlights the constructive frame and wood material, and is well suited to a dense, urban area. In Paris, this is the first time ever that a wooden building is built over a busy motorway.

Woodeum is a French company leading in low-carbon real estate development for new constructions and renovations, especially massive timber structures. It has undertaken many building projects in France using Stora Enso's CLT products, and that is also the plan with Porte Brancion.

"Massive wood is a particularly suitable material for complex structures on busy sites and constrained environments: it is much lighter than concrete, has exceptional mechanical strength, and its implementation requires 6 to 8 times less truck traffic than a traditional concrete structure," comments Renaud Blondeau-Pâtissier, Research and Development Director in Woodeum.

 

Porte Brancion

Photo: Woodeum