Design Architecture Wood Construction Can Last a Long Time By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated October 11, 2018 CC BY 2.0. Lloyd Alter Share Twitter Pinterest Email Design Tiny Homes Architecture Interior Design Green Design Urban Design Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 Often when I write about wood, commenters note that it isn't as durable as other materials. And while that might be true of 2x4 wood frame construction, it isn't about heavy timber. The most surprising I have ever seen is in Bologna, Italy. credit: Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0Almost all of the buildings in Bologna have arcades, which protect pedestrians from the elements, not to mention horses then and motor scooters now, and most are now built of brick. (stone is rare up here in northern Italy) Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 Back in the 13th century, however, they built this arcade in wood. Here it is, eight hundred years later, and the exposed wood of the arcade is still there, still holding up masonry walls above it. Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 Now it is true that we don't see a lot of wood of these dimensions in the lumber yard these days, but we have new technologies that can give us pretty much the same thing. I think that holding up a brick building for eight hundred years is pretty impressive.