A new exhibition in Berlin puts timber front and centre, showcasing the versatility of wood as a material for the construction sector. The famed Martin Gropius Bau in the German capital is playing host to 40 intricate filigree models of wooden constructions from around the world. The exhibition is a joint venture between the German Association of the Sawmilling and Timber Industry (DeSH) and numerous partners.
The exhibition, entitled “Building with timber – Paths into the future”, challenges any notions of timber as an obsolete building material, and instead convinces visitors that timber is synonymous with style, quality and sustainability in the modern building world. At the heart of the exhibition is that one of the oldest known building materials has a new face and meaning for the building industry, motivated not least by developments in structural engineering and timber production.
Exhibition curator Professor Hermann Kaufmann, from the Technical University of Munich, emphasises in the exhibition the ecological turnaround of building with renewable raw materials, and the new possibilities this offers to the commercial and residential building sector.
The models demonstrate the ‘promise of timber’ for modern society and in an urban context, particularly showcasing one of the latest global architectural trends: building high-rise structures with wood. Central to the exhibition pieces are the themes of ecological balance, aesthetic, and building all kinds of designs quickly and inexpensively with timber.
The exhibition is particularly directed at architects and political decision-makers, as well as the housing sector. It is a focal point for the Association’s efforts to raise the quota of timber buildings in Germany, which is, at 16 percent, lower than in many other European countries. Fostering timber construction not only combats climate change, but is also key to economic growth especially in rural areas. “We are delighted that the exhibition focuses on the material itself as well as showcasing architectural masterpieces – exploring various themes from the local forest, through to processing, and modern residential housing,” said Carsten Doehring, President of the DeSH. “Wood is a unique raw material, in that it will be available to future generations through sustainable management of forests.”
Among the cutting-edge filigree models are structures by well-known international architects such as Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban und Frei Otto. Each of the intricate individual creations required around 2,000 hours of handiwork, making the exhibition itself an impressive display of craftsmanship.
Visitors can visit the exhibition “Building with timber – Paths into the future” until 15th January 2017, at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin-Mitte from Wednesday through Monday, 10:00 – 19:00.
Pictures: Technische Universität München, © Jirka Jansch