Wood: the growing building material of the future

The Sensations project beside the Rhine in Strasbourg gives housing and shops to open up a vibrant new zone

Builders are using cross-lamin­ated timber (CLT) to replace concrete as the key material in modern construction with wooden buildings rising across the country, from Stras­bourg to Paris, Le Havre, Nice and Bordeaux.

Three wood-framed apartment blocks nearing completion in Strasbourg will be the highest wooden buildings in France with one at 11 floors and two others at eight. In total, they will provide 146 homes.

Using wood costs 20% more than concrete and demands a larger workforce to handle it, but it can be used in many different forms to give a low-pollution building site where 16m by 3m panels can be quickly built. In addition, much of the work on the panels is done in a factory so the site needs less storage space.

Cross-laminated wood is also used as a light and strong replacement for massively-polluting and heavy reinforced concrete beams that support many large structures.

This was vital in the upcoming Porte Brancion project in Paris where three buildings with student and young workers’ residences plus ...

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