Woodcube | Germany

Germany—Aptly named for its recognizable form, Hamburg’s Woodcube offers a strategy for constructing multi-storey housing with a renewable natural resource material commonly found in northern climates—wood! Since wood is especially abundant in Canada, we’re eager to see the unique construction methods developed by Architekturagentur, the firm behind this innovative project, in the context of a modern residential development.

Special attention is given to the selection of local lumber and its construction, which is the result of extensive research. The floors, interior walls and balconies are prefabricated from solid wood and are connected only by traditional beech wood rawl plugs, avoiding the use of glues, coatings and the harmful chemicals associated with them (this is the first five-storey building in the world to achieve this). The exterior wood walls are load-bearing, provide plenty of thermal insulation, and are fire resistant enough to negate the need for a sprinkler system. Even on the interior, toxic materials are prohibited and only biodegradable materials are used. The deliberate material selection has kept the construction phase completely carbon neutral and currently, the entire building meets passive house standards—truly remarkable for a building built out of a material that is often taken for granted.

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Joseph Villahermosa