11 February 2020

Mass Timber - The Scandinavian Effect

Currently, a joint design research project into modern timber building between Tyréns, Sven Tyréns Foundation and students at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design co-taught by Associate Professor Jennifer Bonner of Mall Architects and Professor Hanif Kara of AKT II, is underway.

"It is really fantastic that Harvard is looking to Sweden and Tyréns on this issue. Internationally, Sweden is considered to be far ahead in the field of timber construction. In Sweden and northern Europe, many large manufacturers of wooden buildings have expanded over many years, and the interest has increased in step with trends in the climate targets," Ove Nilsson, Project Manager at Tyréns, says.

The Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, under the leadership of Professor Hanif Kara and Associate Professor Jennifer Bonner, is conducting a studio with Fourteen students who are studying timber as a material in greater depth. The focus is on the field of cross laminated timber and Mid rise buildings on sites in Raleigh Durham- North Carolina USA.

Jennifer Bonner, Associate Professor GSD, Harvard
Architect Mall Architects

"The studio will investigate if there is a "Scandinavian effect" on innovation and development in the art of timber construction. We want to study construction with timber beyond what the engineers and manufacturers already do, to explore wider issues such as Aesthetics, beauty, effects and representation with a view to engaging more Architects and Designers” added Jennifer Bonner who is also a practicing Architect.

Hanif Kara,
Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology GSD, Harvard
Design Director AKT II

"The students are making a ten-day study visit to Sweden during February to study modern Swedish timber construction and Immerse themselves into the Swedish culture," Hanif Kara, Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology GSD, Harvard, says.

The visit to Sweden is being planned and managed by employees from Tyréns and comprises lectures and study visits in Stockholm and Skellefteå. Among other things, the group is visiting timber construction projects underway in Skellefteå and the Martinsons laminated timber factory in Bygdsiljum.

"There are many advantages with timber that indicate timber will not only have a greater use in the Swedish market but also internationally. Among other things, as a material, timber is renewable and stores carbon dioxide, which can help to create a more environmentally sustainable development," Ove Nilsson says.

Part of the option studio will include a symposium, Mass Timber: Beyond Instrumentality and Technology will be held at Harvard in Boston on April 10th 2020 and will include invited architects, structural engineers, developers and manufacturers.

Thanks to the exchange with Harvard, Tyréns is further strengthening its competence and position in timber construction. The project also intends to develop and deepen the cooperation between the Tyréns areas of competence, Architecture and Design.

The Study Visit is co-sponsored by Sven Tyréns Trust and the Swedish part of the Project will as well be financed by the Trust.