Timber Framed Buildings; Paving the Way to Net Carbon Zero

Bailey Partnership

By Jamie Henderson, Architect

It’s an interesting time in the construction industry as sustainability takes centre stage. The game-changing solution of timber framed buildings has emerged. These structures not only bring strength and aesthetic appeal, but also play a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices. Today, I want to delve into why I believe that timber framed buildings are a fantastic choice for architecture of all scales, highlighting their impact on carbon sequestering, sustainable forestry, from impressive high-rise designs to ethically transformed run down architecture, bringing the past into the future.


                           Making a Positive Environmental Impact

I believe one of the most compelling aspects of timber framed buildings is their ability to combat climate change through carbon sequestering. If we choose to use timber in these buildings, it will act as a carbon sink, capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. As we know, trees naturally absorb CO2 as they grow, and by using timber as a construction material, we’re effectively locking away that carbon. This can reduce the overall carbon footprint of the construction industry and help us move closer to a greener future.


                           Respecting Nature and Our Communities

When it comes to sustainable architecture, I believe responsible forestry practices are of utmost importance. For instance, when we source timber from sustainably managed forests, we are actively promoting the preservation of natural resources and protecting the biodiversity of our ecosystems. Certifications like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) guide us in selecting timber from responsibly managed sources, ensuring that we uphold environmental balance while respecting the rights of local communities. This approach not only benefits the environment, but also aligns with our ethical responsibilities as architects and designers.


                           Inspiring Examples that Redefine Possibilities

Below I have collated a small list of timber towers, which I believe have been making waves in the architectural world recently. In my opinion, these structures are more than just feats of engineering—they embody the potential of timber framed buildings and inspire me to be a more thoughtful, creative and ethical designer.

The Treet Tower in Bergen, Norway, which stands at 49 metres tall and holds the title of the world’s tallest timber framed building. It is awe-inspiring how this structure, constructed with cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam beams, showcases the strength and environmental benefits of timber in high-rise construction. It’s a testament to the ingenuity and forward-thinking nature of sustainable architecture.

Another remarkable example is the Brock Commons Tallwood House in Canada. Standing 53 metres tall, it exemplifies the durability and versatility of timber framed buildings. Engineered wood products like CLT and glulam played a pivotal role. In construction, reducing carbon emissions and demonstrating that sustainability and tall structures can go hand in hand. This, in my opinion, opens up a world of possibilities for sustainable high-rise development.

Last but not least, Mjøstårnet in Norway. Standing at a staggering 85.4 metres, it holds the record for the world’s tallest timber building. This mixed-use marvel showcases the aesthetic appeal and potential of timber framed construction. Its innovative design not only aligns with sustainability goals but also creates a harmonious living and working environment.                           

                     Final Words


Let’s embrace timber framed buildings and join the movement towards sustainable architecture. Together, we can create structures which not only contribute to a more vibrant and eco-friendly planet, but will stand the test of time.