Library Built From Diseased Wood Hauled Out By Horses


Percheron horses, with owner Craig Novotney, are named Andy and Rex.

The dead tree edition of Wood Design and Building just came out with an interesting article about one of our favourite dead tree buildings, The Traverwood Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, covered by Neil last year in Insect Infestation as Green Architecture Tool.

Images credit Justin Maconochie for inForm Studios

The trees were killed by the Emerald Ash Borer, The larvae eat the inner bark and "girdle" the tree, killing it in two years. But they stay near the surface, leaving the wood structurally sound. When inFORM Studio was designing the library, they found a lot of diseased ash on the site, and put it into the building.

It wasn't easy to do it sustainably. The architects write:

Lumberjacks with custom ordered Swedish Gransfurs axes in hand, proceeded to manually cut down 60+/- dead ash trees, ranging in diameter from 10" to 22", in order to harvest the trees as sensitively as possible. This practice avoids unnecessary disturbance to the existing woods and existing ecosystem while minimizing root damage to the existing trees, which typically results from the use of large machinery for such a task. To avoid the inevitable damage caused by large machinery needed to remove the logs from the site, Percherron Draft Horses were used to pull those trees which were cut beyond the limits of construction to a cleared portion of the site.

They used it to quite dramatic effect:

Large sections of the logs were used as structural columns, accommodating vertical and lateral loading along the large southwest expanse of glass. The bark has been stripped from these log columns exposing the randomized grooves and carvings created by the EAB larvae - creating, what is in essences, a visual and tactile testament to the life and destruction of the Ash tree in Michigan and surrounding area, allowing generations to be exposed to an autopsy report of an extinct species in the region.

Parking is under the building to minimize site disruption, and the building is designed to maximize natural ventilation and daylighting. More at inFORM Studio, found in the latest dead tree edition of Wood Design and building.

More buildings and furniture Made From Sick Wood

Kick Ash Furniture from Lost Trees Shown in Chicago
Beetlecrete: Another Way To Use Up Mountain Pine Beetle Wood
Turning Beetle-Infested Wood to Good (Design) Use

Tags: Architects | Green Building | Michigan

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