Wood at Work 2018 conference is like a TreeHugger reunion

Daniels Building
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

So many of the people we talk about here are coming to talk timber and tall wood.

Wood at Work 2018 is the fourth annual conference of global innovators linking the use of wood with urbanization, architecture, climate change, forestry and forest conservation. It's taking place in Toronto on October 25 and 26 at the jazzy new Daniels Faculty of Architecture (my alma mater) that is now housed in a building that was once a hospital (Amelia Earhart worked there), an insulin factory and an eye bank.

TreeHugger has covered many of the speakers at this conference, some many times. Some of our favorites:

Michael Green


Michael GreenMichael Green at Tall Wood Symposium/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

We have covered Michael Green so much that he deserves his own category. He is not only changing the way we use wood, but the way we build:

The construction industry is broken but not enough that people want to fix it. Construction is the last craft; everything else is built in a factory everything else has been systematized. Designers work in a room and contractors work in the rain. To anyone outside our industry it makes no sense. It is time to move beyond and change it. As a craft industry we are dealing with weather, timelines, cost, skills, inaccuracies, errors, and every building we do is essentially a prototype. We have to move from individual project thinking to system thinking.

It is why it made total sense that he sold his company to Katerra. More on Michael:

Will Katerra disrupt the construction industry?
Michael Green goes way beyond tall wood
Michael Green Architects do Small Wood in Vancouver boat house
Everything old is new again with the T3 building in Minneapolis
Architect Michael Green Calls Wood "The Most Technologically Advanced Building Material In The World."

Grace Jeffers

Grace JeffersLloyd Alter/ Grace Jeffers presenting/CC BY 2.0

I was in shock after hearing Grace Jeffers talk, because we all talk about how wonderful wood is, and how it is so renewable, but we often miss the forest for the trees. That's what Grace explains:

It is fallacy to consider wood only as an agricultural product: While wood may be planted, grown and harvested as any other agricultural crop, this activity should not be mistaken for a forest, because it is monoculture. Just as a field of corn is not a prairie, a valley planted in a single species of tree is not a forest.

I have been in not a few battles since, questioning whether we should be using mass timber when stick framing will do, because we should be reconsidering the amount of wood we are using.
Why architects and designers have to choose woods responsibly.
What's the best way to build in wood?

Donald Chong

We first met Donald Chong when his firm designed this stunning kitchen for the Interior Design Show in Toronto in 2007. It remains the most beautiful and well thought-out kitchen I have ever seen, and its tagline, Small Fridges Make Good Cities, has become a mantra on TreeHugger. I rounded up a pile of stories based on it here:
What ever happened to: "Small fridges make good cities"
although recently I turned it around to note: Small fridges don’t make good cities; it’s more accurate to say that good cities make small fridges.

John Patkau

I have not met the Patkaus but have admired their work forever. We have covered a few projects, including their latest in Toronto:
Another timber tower sprouting In Toronto

There are many more speakers I am looking forward to meeting. See the whole program at Wood at Work and all of our posts on wood construction.

Wood at Work 2018 conference is like a TreeHugger reunion
So many of the people we talk about here are coming to talk timber and tall wood.

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