New video series highlights the benefits of using wood in large buildings


Michael Green is a rock star of wood architecture. The Vancouver, B.C., architect is a pioneer in expanding the use of wood in large, modern buildings from the European cities where the practice started to the cities of North America.

He designed the largest wood building in Canada, is working on several other large wood buildings (including at least one in the U.S.) and he literally wrote the book on large wood buildings (the 200-page “Case for Tall Wood Buildings,” which is available for free online).

It’s no wonder that we’ve mentioned Green several times (here, here and here) on this blog. And it’s with great pleasure that we now announce Green is featured in a series of videos on The Most Natural Resource. The site, which explores the benefits of wood, is operated by the Washington Forest Protection Association, the Washington Contract Loggers Association, the Family Forest Foundation and the Washington Farm Forestry Association.

In the series of short videos, Green talks about the benefits of using wood in large buildings: the lower carbon emissions, the cheaper costs, the ease and speed in building, the improved aesthetics and its close connection to sustainable forestry. He also talks about the role that the LEED building certification system plays in sometimes hampering the use of wood in large buildings, and how cities still need to change their building codes to allow the use of wood in large buildings to flourish.


I’m passionate about this idea that wood is an incredible material and I think is going through a really interesting phase of being reinvented in modern architecture. For a long time, for the last century, we’d seen concrete and steel really take over as the modern materials, the manmade materials. And now I think we’re realizing that natural materials are perhaps far more sophisticated, far better for our health to be around and far better for the planet.

The revolution is happening, Green says. (As an example, just today the White House announced a competition to innovate in the use of wood in large buildings.)

I am absolutely convinced that these (wood) buildings will become commonplace, that we will all not only get used to them but we will want them. And for a whole host of reasons, including human health issues and quality of experience.

Green says we should be “looking to the forests and really looking to nature for answers to a lot of the complexities of life’s problems.”

The answers are almost always going to be found in the natural world. And with architecture, that starts with wood and the power of Mother Nature. We are creating a really organic way of thinking about the future of building. But I think every tree has to be given a life that as a wood product lasts for generations because that tree deserved it.

Watch all the videos here.