Wooden hotel on top of a hill

Wood boldly goes where no other material can: some of our favourite 2024 examples

Stora Enso’s Wood Products division recently held a competition looking for the examples of our partner’s building projects that could only be built with mass timber.
Photo: Nordic Hotels & Resorts
Stora Enso Partner: Woodcon AS

We received some truly impressive examples of how mass timber’s lightweight properties and precise factory-built elements are being leveraged to fill in even the hardest-to-reach spaces. 

The projects left us feeling incredibly hopeful about curbing urban sprawl and building sustainably, and we just had to share some of our favourites with you here.

Probably some of our engineering readers and change-maker architects are thinking there’s always 'another way to build’, and while we love all bio-based building materials, these ones are sure to make you seriously wonder how else they could have been built without wood.

Moodellen 4 construction site in Sweden

Modellen 4, Stockholm, Sweden

Threading everything required to build a six-story apartment block via an entranceway to the construction site the width of a king-size bed might seem next to impossible. Creative readers might be thinking of a ship-in-the-bottle technique, and while that could work, prefabricated CLT (cross-laminated timber) is making light work of it in this extremely tight infill.

Our Sylva™ CLT kit arrives curbside with our just-in-time delivery service. From there, the general contractor, MVB AB, loads the elements onto battery-driven tracked carriers that take them through the passageway. MVB used a crane on the street to lift another lightweight crane over the rooftops of the surrounding houses to assemble the kit into place, which avoided having to constantly lift large elements over rooftops which can pose potential safety and logistical issues. The building is set to open 09 ’24.

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Photo: Wallfast / StudioS19

Hosta site in France

Hosta, Paris

HOSTA is suspended over six lanes of traffic on the Porte Brancion, enabling the transformation of wasted space above a busy ring road around Paris into a vibrant boulevard.

How? Woodeum, France’s low-carbon real estate specialists, are leveraging mass timber’s high strength-to-weight ratio to create a mechanical scaffold/living bridge for Hardel Le Bihan’s architectural design of a 7-storey residence.

Given the location, had the building been constructed with concrete, it would have been so heavy that it could only be four floors high.

And because mass timber trucks had perfectly planned and nested loads, drivers could safely drop off the right elements without the need for onsite storage which would not have been possible in that tight urban area anyway. Set to open 2024.  

Photo: Woodeum / @PotionMediatique

Cederhusen interior

Cederhusen, Stockholm

Savvy and sustainable property developers Folkhem will be winning awards all this year for their revolutionary urban infill.

The project team outwitted the restrictions on how much load they could put on top of the tunnel over the Swedish E4/E20 highways and Värtabanan rail line with their application of mass timber. Not only did wood enable them to build up to 13 floors (much higher than possible with concrete). But Bjerking engineers calculate, they increased the available leasable space by a whopping 55%.

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Photo: ByggPartner / Folkem

Arding & Hobbs in London

Arding & Hobbs, London

The only way was up for B&K Structures when faced with how to extend the iconic Arding & Hobbs department store. Their clever use of a sustainable prefabricated Sylva™ CLT kit added a flexible/adaptive new top floor to the 1908 heritage building. Far too often, buildings are demolished not because they are starting to fall apart but because the needs have changed. But this project clearly proves you can easily heighten existing building stock and eliminate the need for climate-damaging demolition.

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Photo: B&K Structures

Convent (Las Salesas) Refurbishment, Pamplona

Convent (Las Salesas) Refurbishment, Pamplona

Flooding a former convent with natural daylight through a wood-framed skylight is not only energy-saving and delightful for the workers of this regional government office in Spain but was also very likely the only material for the job.

The skylight frame is made with laminated veneer lumber (LVL), which is five times lighter than concrete and twice as strong in strength-to-weight ratio. Our partners in Spain, Madergia, assembled a grid in their nearby workshop and delivered it ready to manoeuvre into place in a matter of hours on the sensitive restoration building site.

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Photo: Madergia / ©Pablo García Esparza 

Svalbard building site in Norway

Svalbard Folkehøgskole, Longyearbyen, Norway

Finally, we must highlight Svalbard Folkehøgskole. Situated 500 miles from the North Pole, Folkehøgskole is possibly the world’s most northern school and demonstrates so clearly how fast-to-assemble, healthy Sylva™ schools-in-a-box can reach places where they are very much needed and would be unsustainable and impractical with most other construction materials today.

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Photo: Woodcon / Hæhre Arctic

We hope these projects gave you the same warm glow they gave us. If you would like to know more about the benefits of wood construction, please sign up for our newsletter and download our whitepaper: 10 Advantages to Building with Mass Timber.

Thank you to all our partners and customers who participated in our competition. Special thank you to our partners and customers B&K Structures, Woodeum, Woodcon, ByggPartner, Madergia, and MVB for demonstrating so beautifully how mass timber is replacing steel and concrete with their applications of Sylva™ CLT building kits by Stora Enso. All of the entries can be viewed in our Reference Library.

Are there enough trees?

Some people question if the increased use of wood in construction contributes to deforestation. The truth is wood has actually expanded Europe’s forests to 42% tree coverage (an increase of about the size of Portugal). However, wood construction as a climate action only works if harvesting trees are linked to policies, regulations or incentives to manage forests sustainably and requires sustainable complementary efforts  like these shown here.  

Learn more about building sustainable cities with Yale University’s Alan Oraganshi and the World Green Building Council in this podcast

Listen to the podcast about why Europe’s forests are getting bigger

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