CLT: Prof. Gerhard Schickhofer is awarded the 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize.

Cross-laminated timber, CLT, explains the expansion of multi-storey wood buildings in the world. Gerhard Schickhofer is awarded the 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize for research and knowledge transfer behind the stable and eco-friendly material.

Professor Gerhard Schickhofer, the Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology at Graz University of Technology, Austria, has laid the scientific and technological foundation for the development of cross-laminated timber, CLT. For his discoveries he is awarded the 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize of SEK 2 million.

  • The purpose of the Prize is to recognize, encourage and stimulate pathbreaking scientific achievements which contribute significantly to broadening knowledge and to technical development within the fields of importance to forestry and forest industries.

Strong and stable elements

Cross-laminated timber, CLT, consists of several layers of solid wood laminations glued together crosswise measuring a length of up to 20 metres, a width of four meters and a thickness desired for every purpose. The elements are stable and load-bearing. They are also easy to process, shape and even curve using modern manufacturing technologies. All these qualities have made wooden skyscrapers possible.

Many projects around the world are competing in constructing the world’s tallest buildings in wood. Brock Commons, an 18-storey student residence in Vancouver, Canada, has kept the lead after being completed in 2017.

It was however recently reported that the first tenants will move in to HoHo tower in Vienna, Austria, in June 2019. The 24 floors will house apartments, offices and a hotel, a restaurant and a gym.

Even higher so called plyscrapers have been proposed in several countries. The 80-storey River Beech Tower in Chicago, USA, is among the tallest.

Ground-breaking research

The Prize Selection Committee of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation states in its motivation that Gerhard Schickhofer has made scientific and engineering contributions required to standardize the development of CLT and enable its adoption as a building material.

Gerhard Schickhofer has also succeeded in transferring scientific knowledge to practical applications. His user-friendly software tools and handbooks have had a great influence in the field.

The Institute of Timber Engineering and Wood Technology and the Competence Centre at the University of Technology in Graz also stand out by their application-oriented research. Both organisations provide the industry with technical support, testing and training.

– Gerhard Schickhofer’s passion and commitment to the field of CLT have played a key role in raising the profile of wood for the construction of massive and tall structures. His work has been seminal in interpreting the technological opportunities of CLT to architects and designers, says professor Johanna Buchert, chairperson of the Selection Committee.

The 2019 Marcus Wallenberg Prize will be presented by HM the King of Sweden to Gerhard Schickhofer at a ceremony in Stockholm in October this year.

Further information:  The Marcus Wallenberg Prize:

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