Special Report: Canada Wood and China Wood Building Industry Joint Mission to Xiongan, the Future Green City

On November 11th, FII China and Canada Wood China (CWC) worked with the China Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Xiongan Green Development Research Institute (XAGDRI) to organize the Canada Wood and China Wood Building Industry Joint Mission to Xiongan. Affiliated stakeholders included the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), the Xiongan Planning and Construction Bureau (XAPCB), Global Affairs Canada, and Weixun International Cooperation & Exchange Centre.

Over 35 organizations attended the program with 80 participants representing SOEs, local developers, design institutes and wood building enterprises from across China. The event was designed to collaborate with government partners in Xiongan to engage domestic companies and promote opportunities for wood construction.

 

The ‘Hebei Xiongan New Area Planning Outline’ aims for the development of a smart city project that leverages advanced information and environmental protection technologies to embrace green, low-carbon, energy-efficient, and livable concepts with high-quality public services. The program for the mission included site visits followed by a conference on advanced wood building technologies, bringing Chinese stakeholders to Xiongan to discuss how the benefits of wood construction aligned with ‘zero-waste city’ and sustainable regional development goals in Xiongan.

 

For the site tour, mission delegates visited the Xiongan Administrative Committee (XAAC), and the Xiongan Planning Exhibition Centre with a tour arranged by the Xiongan Government Affairs Office. Participants also experienced the unmanned convenience store, autonomous vehicles and other facilities in the Xiongan Civic service Centre.

The conference was held in the Xiongan Design Centre, with expert speakers from across a range of institutions and government partners. FII China presented ‘The Driving Force of the Development of Modern Wood Structure in China’, summarizing the progression of wood frame construction in China, where Xiongan was highlighted as a future model for modern city construction with significant opportunities to lead in the application of modern wood structure technologies.

 

The Hebei Academy of Building Research introduced some of the wood structure projects it has built in Hebei over the years, and the Xiongan Science and Technology Enterprise Association gave a presentation on the planning outline of Xiongan. Canada Wood China shared a detailed case study of the Sino-Canadian Tianjin Ecological Demonstration Project, a significant demonstration project for Canada Wood Group in Northern China.

 

In addition, XAGDRI gave a speech on the topic of Application of Modern Wood Structure in Characteristic Township Development: From Xiong’an Perspective’. As a non-profit think-tank working under the Xiongan Group, XAGDRI stated that the structural design of wood structures is applicable to all types of constructions for characteristic township development. Associated with the development and construction model of Xiongan, the standard system and construction technology system of existing wood structure buildings would empower the large-scale promotion of modern wood buildings in characteristic towns in Xiongan.

 

Moreover, NFGA introduced the application of wood structures in ecotourism development along with some of the iconic projects across China. Forest related tourism has been recognized as an industry with significant potential in China. The development of ecotourism presents an opportunity for NFGA to improve the multi-functional utilization of forests and other natural resources. The adoption of wood structures in ecotourism development could be a sustainable solution to find a balance of protecting the environment and benefitting from sustainable tourism growth.

 

For the final presentation of the morning session, the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research introduced several ongoing reconstruction projects in Xiongan. The approaches applied in Xiongan are consistent with the principals of ‘no-waste cities’, and green development.

 

In the afternoon session of the conference, 10 of China’s leading wood building enterprises introduced their benchmark projects and presented on how they could support the development of projects in Xiongan.

 

The conference was shared online through the Tencent Broadcast application, with over 2360 viewers. Organized by FII China and CWC, and supported by XAAC, this program offered a unique mechanism for direct communication and information exchange between China’s leading wood building industry practitioners and the associated stakeholders, developers and design organizations in Xiongan. There is strong potential for wood building applications in Xiongan’s development, and through programs like this, FII China can play a major role to help connect relevant parties on all sides and reshape public perception towards wood structures.

Special Report: The 6th Annual Sino-Canadian Wood Forum

On November 12, 2020, the 6th Sino-Canadian Wood Forum was held in the Crown Plaza Hotel in Beijing. The event was hosted by Canada Wood, and co-organized with the Wood and Bamboo Engineering Center of Forest Products Industry Planning and Design Institute of National Forestry and Grassland Administration. The theme of this year’s forum was based on the application of modern wood structures in cultural, tourism and health care industries in China. The event attracted nearly 200 participants on site, and was featured online with a live broadcast on SOHU that has reached more than 400,000 views.

The Canadian Ambassador to China, Mr. Dominic Barton, delivered opening remarks at the event where he emphasized that Canada and China have had a strong partnership with exchanges on wood construction technologies. He emphasized that the environmental benefits of building with wood are important as it reduces the carbon footprint and carbon emissions. As both countries have committed to achieving carbon-neutral targets by 2050 and 2060, this is a significant area for cooperation on global climate change.

Due to the pandemic and restrictions on international travel, the wood industry representatives from Canada were unable to attend the event in person. However, they sent in remarks by video for the conference. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resources Canada, Ms. Beth MacNeil, said that the spread of the global pandemic has led people to pay more attention to the importance of healthy buildings and green buildings. Canada is a leader in wood construction and sustainable forest management, and the Natural Resources Canada has been committed to the innovation and development of wood structures. Through Canada Wood, the government of Canada will continue to work with Chinese partners in the fields of building assembly, cultural tourism facilities, and wood processing.

As a representative of Canada’s forest industry partners, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Interfor and Chair of the Board of Directors of Canada Wood, Mr. Bart Bender, said that Canadian forest product companies attach great importance to their relationship with partners in China. Recently, we have seen an unprecedented demand for wood in the North American market. This is due to the sharp rise in demand for wood due to maintenance, renovations and new housing construction. Mr. Bender believes that these unexpected market conditions will be short-term and will eventually return to a normal balance. No matter how the North American market changes, Canadian companies understand Chinese markets have great importance to the lumber industry, and see that there are still many growth opportunities for the application of wood products in the construction and manufacturing industries.

The Wood Forum featured a range of expert speakers from the cultural, tourism and construction industries of China to discuss the advantages of building with wood. With the growth of China’s economy and the improvement of per capita income, people’s demand for tourism has increased, and the quality of local tourism destinations have improved. Wood building materials present an ideal solution for those seeking a break from the concrete jungle of city life to have a chance to enjoy a more natural environment. Wooden structures can offer a comfortable living environment and reduce the carbon footprint of the project.

The Chair of the China Tourism Association’s B & B Inns and Boutique Hotels Branch, Mr. Zhang Xiaojun, said that China’s rural tourism has developed rapidly, and will continue to innovate with advanced buildings and cooperation with platforms such as Air BnB. He emphasized the development of wood in the eco-tourism market, and that while the domestic tourism market is seeing growth while international travel is restricted, travelers are looking for more unique and more authentic local tourism experiences. He suggested that there is still room to improve on the quality and diversity of tourism projects in China and to incorporate new technologies, better services and more innovative designs. Local tourism operators stand to benefit from more cooperation with government and associations to incorporate more advanced wood structures in the field of culture and tourism, to merge international quality with indigenous culture local to each region.

Mr. Luo Yujie, from the School of Architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and Director of Sustainable Village Studio of China Rural Construction Institute, delivered a speech on the topic of growth, where wood can give architecture a new meaning – with themes of fusion, rebirth, and sustainability. Wood structure materials can be recycled, and offers characteristics that can stimulate a new vitality for the project. For the understanding of beauty, the East and the West have a certain resonance on the definition of aesthetics. With regards to wood, its unique aesthetics and structural performance can provide optimal space and strength with minimal materials.

Through a recorded speech from Canada, Dr. Graham Lowe presented research on how wooden buildings and wood decorations can benefit occupants, from improved awareness and work efficiency in offices, to improved rehabilitation of patients and the elderly when applied in medical facilities. The use of engineering with wood not only plays a structural use, but also shows a sense of design in exposed wood structures. He encouraged professionals to deepen their understand of wood construction and the benefits it can bring to health, well-being, and work performance.

The Director of the Wood and Bamboo Building Engineering Design and Development Center of the NFGA shared the prospect analysis of wood structures in the development of eco-tourism, where the concept “green water and green mountains is gold and silver mountains” holds an important significance. With the increasing demand for forest rehabilitation projects, and the inclusion of wood construction in the national urban development plans, the wood and bamboo construction industries have a strong growth opportunity in China.

The China Operation Manager of Forestry Economic Advisors (FEA), Guo Dan, brought in an economic outlook for trading in the lumber industry. She highlighted that the main application market of coniferous sawn timber in North America is decoration building materials and wooden structure houses. In China, the largest application market of coniferous timber is the construction industry, and that wood structures still have ongoing development opportunities.

At the Sino-Canadian Wood Forum, Canada Wood signed a new MOU agreement with the East China Architectural Design and Research Institute (ECADI) for strategic cooperation on the promotion of advanced wood designs in construction. This new partnership will focus on the research and development of technical standards and prefabricated building technologies that can be used to promote the application of modern wood structure buildings in China.

Mr. Wang Hongjun, GM of Second Structural Division of ECADI, along with Mr. Eric Wong, Managing Director of Canada Wood sign an MOU agreement in the presence of the Canadian Ambassador to China

 

The forum also included the 2020 China Wood Construction Awards. This award aims to celebrate best practices in wood buildings and to deepen the technical exchange and cooperation between wood builders. This was the fourth round of the awards, which has attracted a growing number of local wood builders to participate. Applications were received from 91 projects, with 59 projects winning awards after a committee review by industry experts. Click here to explore the winning projects.

MOU Signed for the Promotion of Wood-infill Walls in Anhui Province

On October 30th, Canada Wood China (CW China) accomplished a significant step in the promotion of wood frame construction for prefabrication in China with the signing of a three-party MOU agreement with the Huaishang district of Bengbu city and Shanghai Electric Matechstone. This new partnership is focused on collaboration with construction industrialization in the province of Anhui, and will facilitate the first project for the commercialization of the wood infill wall technology with the Matechstone Prefabricated Energy-Saving Cladding (MPEC) system.


MOU signing ceremony with Canada Wood China, Matechstone and Huaishang district of Bengbu city

The signing ceremony was attended by the Vice Mayor of Bengbu, Mr. Wang Qingwu, the Director of Planning and Development Department of the Science, Technology and Industrialization Center of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD), Ms. Liu Meixia, and the Party Secretary of the District of Huaishang, Mr. Zhang Ming. The collaboration with the city government of Bengbu will engage with the Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Development and Reform Commission to work together to support construction industrialization in the North Anhui Base Integration Project.

The development of the MPEC systems has been a significant advancement for the promotion of wood materials in prefabrication in China. Starting from 2016, CW China initiated a strategy to develop the wood-infill wall building methodology enabling the penetration of wood components in conventional concrete or steel building systems. Starting from early stages as an engineering concept, to confirming the partnership with Matechstone, to development of trial projects to refine the technology to fit into hybrid wood-concrete construction, the program has evolved in significant ways over 4 years of work. The collaboration with Matechstone is a great example of working with key industry players to innovate and create hybrid wood solutions to meet the needs of the construction market in China.


Factory tour of Anhui Yantong, a new subsidiary of Matechstone for prefabrication in Anhui


Discussions with Matechstone CEO Lin Fan and team leaders at Canada Wood China for ongoing collaborations

Following the signing ceremony and the factory tour, CW China and Matechstone hosted a training seminar on construction industrialization, and the integration and development of prefabricated building technologies with a focus on building with wood. The audience included government leaders, research departments, industry experts, and building companies from across Anhui.

The seminar introducing prefabrication technologies and wood frame construction to companies and experts in Anhui

The first commercialization of the wood-infill wall technologies in Anhui will be the Qinghe Gardens, which will be part of a 270,000 m2 affordable housing development, with 10,000 m2 for community facilities that will include MPEC infill wall sections. CW China will provide technical support for this project and cooperate in the promotion of wood structure construction technologies in Anhui through construction training, design support, and prefabricated wood structure construction technology consultation.

Anhui Bengbu Qinghe Garden community facilities

China Economic Update 2020 Q3

China’s Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.9% Year-Over-Year (YOY) in Q3 2020, following 3.2% growth in the second quarter. The government has rolled out measures that include more fiscal spending, tax relief and cuts in lending rates and banks’ reserve requirements to revive the economy and support employment. While the economy has steadily returned to growth, it missed the 5.2% forecasts by analysts in a Reuters poll.

China’s manufacturing economy continued a strong growth momentum into September. The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI index), an important indicator of the strength of the Chinese economy, grew to 53 in September from 51.2 in June (where a reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity). This indicates the post-COVID manufacturing recovery has improved and stayed strong. Factory output increased, boosted by foreign demand for Chinese-made masks and other medical supplies. Retail sales, which had lagged behind the rebound in manufacturing, beat estimates and finally returning to pre-COVID levels as they accelerated to a 0.5% YOY growth in august, and 3.3% growth in September. Increased activity at home and abroad was reportedly driven by the easing of lockdown measures as the sector continued to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, employment stabilised in September, which ended an eight-month period of job losses.

In terms of the currency exchange rates, CAD/CNY fluctuated in Q3 2020. Specifically, the exchange rate showed an upward trend in the first half of Q3, briefly reaching the highest point at 5.26 RMB on August 19. It declined in the second half of Q3, dropping to a low of 5.08 RMB on September 30.

2020 Economic Outlook

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) under the Economist Group revised up for the real GDP growth to 1.4% in 2020, from 1% previously. This reflects the faster than expected recovery of economic activity following a historic economic contraction over the first half of 2020. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast an expansion of 1.9% for China for the full year. That would make China the only G20 economy expected to report growth in 2020, albeit at the slowest annual pace since 1976.

With consistent policies on wearing masks, use of digital apps for contact tracing, coloured health code rankings to access public buildings and extensive measures to control the safe re-opening of different industries, the COVID-19 outbreak has been kept under control within China. Cross border travel is still restricted, with only a gradual opening of the borders to foreigners looking to return to China for work and family reasons. Most recently, there were 12 cases found in the eastern province of Shandong in October, with a small outbreak that was traced to port workers in Qingdao. China still faces great pressure to prevent a resurgence of the virus, where more than 10 million people were tested for the virus within a few days.

China’s economic recovery has been supported by a rebound of exports and consumer spending. September’s fixed asset investment (FAI) grew to an implied rate of 7.6% YOY growth, the same rate as August. This led the Year-to-Date (YTD) investment to reach a 0.8% growth, showing another major indicator that has reached positive growth. There are still risks that remain, such as a return of lockdowns in Europe and North America with the second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks hitting those markets. It’s also unclear how durable the recovery will be with pressures from unemployment levels, and rising corporate, household and government debt levels. There are stimulus options such as the estimated 1 trillion RMB of subsidized relending quotas still remaining, so growth in Q4 is likely to overcome these risks and maintain a positive trajectory.

The Construction Sector

Several indicators of the construction sector declined in the first half of 2020. The total output value of the construction industry was 10.08 trillion yuan, a YOY decrease of 0.76%, and the number of employees was 41.21 million, a YOY decrease of 4.38%. Despite this decline, the total amount of contracts signed increased 7.39% YOY and the number of construction enterprises also witnessed a 10.76% YOY increase.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS), the average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities increased by 4.6 percent YOY in September 2020, following a 4.8 percent rise in the previous month. This was the slowest gain in home prices since February 2016.

Total investment in real estate in China had a YOY increase of 5.6 percent from January to September, 1 percent higher than that from January to August.

The total accumulated floor area completed YTD in China in Q3 2020 was at 2069.56 million m2, down 9.63 percent compared to the 2289.99 million m2 YTD in 2019 Q3.

The below figure shows the trend of total construction project starts and the total projects completed in the corresponding quarter. In Q3, total construction projects completed rose 8.56 percent compared with Q2, but still 4.73 percent lower than that in the same period in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China Wood Imports (cited from China Bulletin)

Softwood log stocks at China’s main ocean ports totalled 4.6 million m3 at the end of September 2020, up 3 percent from the previous month. Radiata pine log inventories recorded an increase of 2.9 percent, and European spruce log inventories totalled 680,000 m3, up 28 percent.

Softwood lumber inventories at the Taicang port and surrounding area were an estimated 1.5 million m3 at the end of September 2020, a decline of 80,000 m3 from August. SPF lumber stocks were an estimated 200,000 m3, reflecting a month-over-month decrease of 25,000 m3. The wholesale market prices for softwood lumber increased moderately during the month due to the stronger demand.

According to the China Bulletin, China’s total softwood log imports in 2020 YTD was 26,952,000 m3. The largest exporter was New Zealand, which exported 9,348,000 m3 softwood log to China in 2020 YTD. China’s softwood log imports from Canada in 2020 YTD was 747,000 m3, a significant drop of 50.6 percent compared to 2019.

China’s total softwood lumber imports in 2020 YTD was 17,694,000 m3. The largest exporter was Russia, which exported 10,531,000 m3 softwood lumber to China in 2020. Canada, the second major softwood lumber exporter, exported 2,148,000 m3 softwood lumber to China in 2020 YTD, a decline of 34.9 percent compared to 2019.

Dialogue with Professor Liu Jie of Shanghai Jiao Tong University: The Expression of “Zen” Culture Through Modern Wood Construction

Dialogue: Dialogue with experts from the wood construction industry Explore the world of modern wood construction Get to know the infinite possibilities of wood Realize coexistence between architecture and nature

Opening:

Interviewee’s profile

Dr. Liu Jie

  • Professor/Doctoral Supervisor/Assistant Dean, Department of Architecture, School of Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Director of Wood Architecture Research and Design Center;
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Asian Space Customs Series, University of Hawaii Press, United States;
  • Director of the Chapter of Architectural History Studies and Member of the Academic Committee, The Architectural Society of China;
  • Vice-Chairman of the Landscape Architecture Research Institute, The Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace) Society of China;
  • Deputy Chairman of the Professional Committee of Wood and Bamboo Structure, Shanghai Society of Civil Engineering;
  • Vice President and Secretary-General of China Society for Covered Bridges (preparatory). He participated in the shooting of the US documentary Operation Bridge Rescue in 2018.

Q&A:

 

Since you have participated in a slew of projects for restoration and reconstruction of ancient Chinese temples, what characteristics do you value the most in wood? And what do you think is the biggest difference between traditional wood construction and modern wood construction?

 

Antique buildings or temple buildings themselves are mostly traditional wood constructions. With the advancement of the times, the demand for architectural functions of temples has become diverse. When conducting restoration and reconstruction, we try our best to apply traditional or modern wood construction technology while maintaining the original architectural style.

As a breathable, organic and long-standing building material, wood, in the eyes of Buddhists, can convey the “Zen” culture. Wood is gentle, robust and hygroscopic in nature, which can not only reflect the artistic conception of Buddhist architecture – “since all is void, where can the dust alight”, but also can be used as a low-carbon, energy-saving and environment-friendly green building material.

Regarding the difference between traditional wood construction and modern wood construction, the biggest difference, as far as I am concerned, remains in concepts, such as aesthetic concepts and functional space requirements, apart from the general academic views, such as structural connection methods, material processing methods, and material recycling limits. Architecture is designed to serve human-beings and human activities. In this regard, the practicability and humanism of architecture should be fully considered in the design. Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban have also used logs and wood blocks to showcase the beauty of modern wood constructions. However, in some functional venues such as theatres and cinemas, even if they contain traditional wood elements, they will still be categorized into modern wood constructions.

 

According to our knowledge, several restoration projects of ancient Chinese constructions such as Hangzhou-based Xiangji Temple and Jingci Temple have adopted a combination of traditional wood construction and modern wood construction. How did you come up with such an approach?

 

I have been engaged in the research on the history and theory of traditional wood constructions for a long time. Since 2000, I have paid inspection tours to Europe for a couple of times. During this period, I visited countries like Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and Austria, all of which boast high forest coverage, extensive wood construction buildings and a long history of construction. Since the outbreak of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, industrial production has driven the modernization transformation of traditional wood construction technology in these countries.

After returning to China, I found that both the design and construction of wood constructions in China remain traditional in terms of concept/philosophy and technical means. In my opinion, we should learn from the developed countries where there are proven technologies and mature experience, and adopt modern wood construction technology to promote the further development of China’s traditional wood construction.

At that time, Xiangji Temple in Hangzhou was scheduled to conduct restoration, which turned out to be a prime opportunity for us. Modern mindset and innovative technical methods were adopted in the restoration of the temple. In another restoration project of the wood Jingci Temple in Hangzhou, since the temple is located at the core of the World Cultural Heritage site, West Lake of Hangzhou, we are obliged to strictly follow the relevant technical regulations and requirements for the protection and restoration of cultural relics and buildings.

Stepped in history and rich in culture, wood architecture embodies the essence of ancient Chinese philosophy. In most cases, a good mix of wood construction and architectural space is beyond the reach of other structural systems. For developers, overall considerations shall be given to such factors as function, market and cost when deciding the project type.

 

 

Could you please share with us some of your memories in the process of project design and construction?

 

We had many interesting memories when we were renovating Xiangji Temple in Hangzhou. Established in the Northern Song Dynasty, and steeped in history, Xiangji Temple is a sacred place where ancient civilians came to pray and redeem a vow to a god. In the original construction plan, the owner advocated reconstruction in pursuant to techniques described in Yingzao Fashi (lit. ‘Treatise on Architectural Methods or State Building Standards’) of the Northern Song Dynasty, i.e. Restoration shall be conducted based on the principle of the design and construction of Song-style buildings. Later, some changes have taken place in the mindset of Hangzhou’s leadership, and they hoped that innovation would be introduced to traditional buildings. As a result, we had to make a new plan to incorporate innovative elements while preserving traditional culture, thus making Xiangji Temple the first of its kind in China to be built, on the whole, on a large scale with glulam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At that time, there was a scenario in which the owner denied the building of a basement. I think as a designer, one should have a sense of responsibility and mission, truly consider the interests of the owner and the future operation of the temple. The basement is a practical necessity in order to meet the need for storage space.

After further discussion with the owner, it was learned that the owner did not disapprove the establishment of a basement, but was worried that the project could not be completed and delivered on time due to a tight construction period. To meet the requirements for the construction period and function, we later made some adjustments in the scheme design. In the new design scheme, the pattern of a temple built in the mountain is simulated; the elevation of the outdoor terrace gradually increases with the progress of the space, and a semi-overhead and semi-underground space is naturally formed at the last layer/courtyard of the temple. As a result, the risk of construction delay caused by extensive excavation is avoided, and the regulation and pattern of a traditional Zen temple are reflected, thus solving the limited storage space issue of the temple and showcasing the pattern of a traditional Zen temple built in the mountain. In addition, the temple’s step-by-step elevation design enriches the architectural outline and achieves excellent visual effects. As for project period control, since the wood construction can be prefabricated in the factory, the concrete foundation and the semi-basement can be constructed simultaneously. After the structural curing is completed, it is seamlessly followed by the on-site installation of the wood construction, so that we have successfully completed the scheme with half the time and effort.

At that time, there were few similar projects in China where there was a lack of construction experience. For example, there was a prominent contradiction in the joint/cohesion between concrete construction and wood construction. The fact is the accuracy of wood construction is very high compared to concrete.  Whereas you often see tolerance issues in centimetres with built RC, in wood construction misalignment issues are only occur in millimetres and are hence easy to repair. Later, the connection problem was solved due to recalculation and adjustment.

 

Which projects do you think reflect the future development trend of wood constructions? What do you think is the biggest challenge for wood buildings at the moment? Compared with steel construction and concrete construction, what is the greatest opportunity for the development of the wood construction industry?

 

I think anything is possible. Relatively speaking, the wood itself is a healthy and organic building material and will be applied to more scenarios, especially in cultural, educational, healthy and religious buildings.

The biggest challenge, I think, lies in policy and economy. Policy factor comes first, as favourable national policies have a great and positive impact on the development of the wood constructions sector. The economic factor comes second, as the market determines the price. The unbalanced local economic development and different local bidding policies directly or indirectly affect the choice of wood construction.

If the cost of wood construction is judged from the whole life cycle of buildings including planning, design, construction, application/usage and maintenance, even demolition, recycling and reuse, etc., wood construction still boasts certain comprehensive cost advantages. Western countries have been following the route of sustainable development for long. However, wood buildings in China are still in the growth stage. Considering that wood-frame constructions are lightweight, highly comfortable, prefabricated, and easy to install and dismantle, they will enjoy broad development potential in the future.

In some cases, wood construction possesses incomparable advantages over steel construction and concrete construction in terms of the expression, affinity, health and aesthetic properties contained in wood materials. Living in wood houses makes indoor occupants more focused, calms the nerves and enables them to feel happy. Several scientific studies have found that living in wood houses for long can prolong the life span by 9-11 years. It is turned out to be the best choice for people pursuing a healthy life.

 

 

How do you think the development of modern wood construction will be integrated into the industrialization of construction?

 

Wood construction is inherently a product of modular design and construction, and industrialization has brought unprecedented development opportunities to the construction industry, so how to optimize design, integrate resources, improve efficiency and reduce costs is the key to the development of the construction industry in the next stage. With the advancement of wood construction technology at home and abroad, architects have to pull collective wisdom to innovate design and technology, enabling wood construction to embrace more room for growth. Moreover, its superior material performance will benefit wood construction to achieve further development in the smart construction sector.

 

 

We know that Mr. Liu is currently a professor and doctoral supervisor in the Department of Architecture of the School of Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University who enjoys rich teaching experience. In recent years, some colleges and universities, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have already offered relevant courses on wood design. What do you think drove the offering of such courses at these schools?

 

The content setting and development of wood design courses vary from school to school. We at Shanghai Jiao Tong University have also been trying to promote the teaching and research of wood construction building system. Our wood construction center is scheduled to offer a four-in-one program in architecture, construction, materials and art for postgraduates. Candidates in relation to these four majors can apply for this program. In the past, the curriculum setting was either narrow or meticulous, which enabled students not only to be proficient in only one subject or one aspect but also prone to be one-sided without a comprehensive and long-term vision. From the perspective of teaching, the offering of interdisciplinary subjects can expand students’ knowledge and improve their comprehensive design capability. Only by combining technology with the concept can high-quality buildings be designed.

Students are taking the wood design course in a summer vacation program at The University of British Columbia (UBC)

What’s your comment on students’ attitude towards wood construction in the research and teaching of wood construction? How will this shape the next generation of architects?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

△ K11 Architecture Festival “The Resurgence of Wood Architecture” Exhibition

 

Wood architecture enjoys wide popularity among students. This is not only because they nowadays have a wide range of interests, but also due to the excellent expression of wood materials and the vigorous promotion of wood construction. Students have also been more actively engaged in relevant events and activities than ever before. Tongji University recently planned a theme exhibition entitled “The Resurgence of Wood Architecture”, which also attracted massive college students of related majors. We encourage students to take part in more activities alike. These exhibitions showcase the latest materials, technologies and future development trends. The assimilation, application and mastery of this knowledge will be of great help to students in their future work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K11 Architecture Festival “The Resurgence of Wood Architecture” Exhibition

 

 

What teaching measures has your employer taken to train talents in the field of wood constructions? Which aspect of ability training should we pay more attention to? What are your expectations or suggestions for them?

 

Timber Design of Tourist Center (submitted by Nanjing Tech University), the award-winning project (First Prize) at the 4th National College Wood Construction Design Competition

 

We want to get students of architecture and engineering construction major involved by holding exhibitions, competitions, speeches, training, etc., through which students’ performance in design and practice can be elevated to a new level. In terms of talent training, different schools have different missions and orientations. For example, Nanjing Tech University focuses on undergraduate training, while Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tongji University focus more on postgraduate training. Whether you are students or construction practitioners, people of different majors have their own fields of expertise. In the process of cross-disciplinary cooperation, we should communicate and consult more widely, be prudent, and consider things from every angle and in all directions.

 

 

End:

List of classic project cases

Xiangji Temple in Hangzhou

 

 

Kaiyuan Temple in Liuzhou

Jingci Temple in Hangzhou

 

Tourist Service Center of Jiuyi Mountain Scenic Spot in Ningyuan County, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province (Honorable Mentions at the 2019 BC WOOD DESIGN AWARDS in Canada)