Wood Was Good Enough for a President’s Teeth; So…?
~ Amy Lignor
Okay…no, George Washington did not actually wear wooden dentures, but the myth remains strong even in the 21st century. It is one of those enduring stories of the famous leader’s dental problems (who actually did wear multiple sets of dentures made from many materials, such as gold and ivory). However, there is one thing that wood is being used for, and it is very true, and it has become more than a myth to roll the eyes at. In fact, it’s even becoming super cool.
There are architects out there right now who believe that they could create some truly amazing – and even famous – buildings without using metal, steel, glass and other materials that can become real eyesores and release carbon emissions. There was even a contest where the Colosseum in Rome was ‘rebuilt’ (architects, Helin & Co; structural engineers, Metsä Wood’s). They recreated the design of the famous building but used wood as the main material to bring it to life. Would this be bad for the amphitheater? Well, now, sure…but that’s only because the ancient one is a part of history that, once lost, could never be gotten back.
But that wasn’t the point of the project. This particular plan was showing consumers and the world out there that by using wood, the building would offer 12% more space, reduce construction time, and slash the serious costs spent by using prefabricated modular elements.
But that is not the only project people are talking about in this world that’s focus is on “going green” before everything falls apart. An architect by the name of Michael Green is the brains behind creating “timber towers,” and has made a name for himself by building North America’s tallest one. This is a form of architecture that is slowly climbing up the ranks. Remember Einstein and then Tesla coming along…a man with no name but whose alternating current changed the course of electricity? Oh yeah, we’re talking that kind of intellect that sees invention and change as a good thing for the land.
Building with wood seems like the “norm” – after all, log cabins were a big thing once upon a time, right? But over the decades, wood has been set aside even though sustainable wood building has changed, progressed and moved forward with the times, making it a very real and very profitable way to create.
Here’s a fact that may blow the mind: A concrete slab emits 27 kg per square meter (carbon dioxide); by using wood and creating timber towers, emissions are avoided.
Of course there is still rolling of the eyes. Wood? What about fire, duh? What about earthquakes, wars, you name it, wood
wouldn’t provide a barrier at all. BUT, that is not exactly true. There are a slew of benefits when choosing to build with wood; weighs far less, more avoided emissions, construction is quicker, and achieving fire ratings can actually be done by providing additional protection inside the building. When it comes to a steel structure, all walls must be fully protected by insulation, drywall, and stone, which causes a home to fall far down the “green” list.
No one is saying that the world should be rebuilt in all wood; what is being said is that good, old, basic wood should be considered as a safe alternative when it comes to structures or exteriors.
After all, even George Washington knew that, right? Isn’t he the one who chopped down that Cherry Tree? Maybe he knew then what the future would bring…back.