Natural Living

There’s something so calming and beautiful about homes and interiors built from wood. A new book explores how modern architects are reimagining one of our most ancient materials for the future.

We have been using wood to construct our homes and shelters for millennia; from neolithic longhouses to contemporary skyscrapers, this ancient malleable material has proven itself suitable to the landscapes of both the past and present. Today, as the climate crisis worsens and the global population rises, could one of the oldest building materials on earth hold the key to designing a better future? A new book, Out of the Woods (gestalten, 2020), sets out to discover more.

If a tree has grown for 200 years, the material it provides us with should be used in a respectful, aesthetically durable and sustainable manner.

“Before arriving in the skilful hands of a craftsman, each plank of wood begins as part of a tree – itself already a magnificent work of architecture,” says Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen of Norm Architects. “When modelled by architects and craftspeople to support human life, wooden architecture can be considered as a second life for the tree, preserving its value for the future. 

Wood connects us to the natural world from which we are so often removed. It is a quality our forebears understood inherently as generations of people created climate-responsive homes from local materials. Out of the Woods explores a myriad of ways in which we live and work with wood.

Words adapted from Out of the Woods: Architecture and interiors built from wood (gestalten, 2020) Photography Jonas Adolfsen; Adolf Bereuter, Tia Borgsmidt, Pezo von Ellrichshausen

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