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Korean Architect Explains Why Wood Infill Wall is Chosen

Jae Choi

By Jae Choi

Technical Consultant/ Canada Wood Korea

August 8, 2019

“A wood infill wall system could provide a common solution for load-bearing frames made from steel and concrete. The increasingly stringent requirement for energy-efficient buildings in Korea is among the main driving forces behind the use of this wall solution.”

This 4-storey, 21-meter cultural facility building near Seoul in Korea showcases the hybrid use of wood infill partition walls with a steel main structure. The structure is both lightweight and energy efficiency.

According to Min Kyu Lee, the architect of this building, the most commonly used wall solution in this type of structure is a sandwich panel, an insulated metal panel made up of polyurethane foam insulation between a finished metal exterior and interior face. Due to the increasingly stringent energy efficiency requirements, using sandwich panels makes it difficult to meet these standards. There are also concerns with construction quality in the application of this type of wall solution.

Another common solution, notes Mr. Lee, is to frame the wall with steel tubes. Given the high ceilings, this solution isn’t ideal either, as it would require larger steel wall panels that are heavy to transport and install. The interior finishing would also be time-consuming and costly when compared to other solutions.

Given the limitations of other wall technologies, it’s not surprising that Mr. Lee chose to use wood infill walls on this project. All wood infill walls in this project are made of Canadian SPF dimension lumber and APA certified OSB, and the key learnings from the implementation of this project could make a compelling case for him to apply the same technology in future projects.

The wood infill wall is an innovative hybrid building system Canada Wood Group promotes in order to expand the use of structural wood products in mainstream construction markets in China and Korea.