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Is Wood the Future of Paris' Architecture?

Is Wood the Future of Paris' Architecture?

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 18 September 2017

Parisian architecture is set for a new look. This follows the competition call for the design and construction of ecologically sustainable projects launched by Adivbois, whose initiative is to promote wooden constructions and sustainable development. They promote wood as the material of the future.

Adivbois is an ecologically motivated association pushing for a sustainable future, and they proclaim that wood should be the architectural face of the future. They aim to construct 24 looming wooden buildings by 2020, and it has just been announced that Paris is set to welcome four of them. This includes 8,500m² of private family housing and 1,000m² of commercial premises, activities and services, at the corner of the Quai d’Ivry and the boulevard of General Jean Simon.

The project is kickstarted by the fact that wooden buildings in France are relatively few and far between; only 6% of structures are made of wood compared with 15% – 20% in Scandinavia. Statistics are dwarfed even further when you count the wooden structures in places like North America or Japan. It seems almost absurd when you take into consideration that this country has the third largest forest mass in Europe.

The association Adivbois proclaim that the 21st century is the era of wood, being more natural and better suited to human needs than the cold harsh structures of other materials. The streets of Paris have seen the era of steel that marked the birth of design, its pinnacle achievement being the Eiffel Tower built in 1887. This was followed by the era of concrete, incorporating the principles of rationality into living spaces, that has now inspired the return to a more renewable material source that brings us back to nature.

The previously favoured design materials of Paris – steel and concrete – are not sustainable, while wood is renewable and therefore has the advantage of being able to combat climate change. In short, the idea is to create an ecologically motivated future by adapting tomorrow’s construction trends, and wood is the perfect foundation for a sustainable city. This response is geared not only towards ecological concerns but also economic issues, being a cheaper alternative.