3 trends shaping the future of a basic material
Don’t look now but wood is actually cutting-edge
Sourcing the right materials for the right project can be an unnecessary challenge for architects. When considering factors outside of design like, weather conditions for a particular region, shade and thermal protection, selecting the proper lumber elements for a space are integral to the building’s overall performance and life cycle.
Here are three of the latest trends in wood:
Cross-laminated wood and the tall wooden structure trend
If you haven’t noticed yet, the whole world is in a competition to build the tallest wooden structure. But, what caused this trend? Perhaps it’s the emergence of cross-laminated wood. Cross-laminated timber is one of the newest products on the market, according to reThink Wood, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of wood's advantages. Cross-laminated wood is also fire-resistant and a lot stronger than the lumber used in an average two-story house. Riddle, Oregon is the first to produce this mass timber which makes it incredibly more cost-effective than shipping lumber from Austria.
Out with the new and in with the old, reclaimed wood
Although it's a not-so-new trend, the popularity of adding reclaimed wood features to homes, offices, retail stores, restaurants and coffee shops is growing. The trouble with reclaimed wood is acquiring it, but thanks to Centennial Woods, they’ve developed a cyclical process that will keep-up with the supply and demand for reclaimed wood. Based in Wyoming, Centennial Woods does the maintenance for snow fences in the state and every lumber panel they take off to sell as reclaimed wood, they replace with new panels. All panels are made with pine, spruce and fir and are 3-grade or better. Centennial Woods’ most popular product is the shiplap wood.
It looks and feels like wood, but is it?
Nothing brings more warmth and authenticity to a space than wooden siding, wood-framed windows, wood shutters and blinds, thus making lumber the hottest material on the market. However, wood has some competition. The makers of aluminum and metals have created and designed shutters, blinds, fences and sun shades that look and even feel like real wood. The benefits are strong too. Aluminum fencing, for instance lasts three times longer than wood fence, low maintenance. And Bahama shutters for tropical hurricane-prone regions are a solid choice, too, because they withstand salt air, and help protect glass windows from hurricane-force winds.
Caitlin Reagan is a digital content manager at the AIA.