The Urban Lung: Towards a Timber Age

by Ryan Gormley from Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
Tutored by: Benjamin Spaeth, Wassim Jabi

Author comments:

Following an outbreak of an airborne pathogen affecting Welsh Larch trees there has been a nationwide mass felling of the species to prevent the pathogen from spreading. This in turn has created an excess of larch timber in which the Welsh Government is seeking to be implemented for use in construction. By taking advantage of the lower grade timber found in ancient woodlands across Wales, The thesis explores the possibilities of amalgamating the locally sourced lumber into far stronger structural composites. The research consists of both physical and digital based modelling/prototyping by exploring timber tectonics that develop further into the creation of a new system. The system is then integrated into the final design and programme of Urban Lung.

The Urban Lung; A bioclimatic tower that sequesters carbon through locally sourced materials, whilst adhering to passive design principles that allow the building to breathe both metaphorically and physically.

Following the research and development of a new system, the Urban Lung aims to act as a showcase of innovation for a new timber industry that practices sustainable material sourcing and Low carbon construction, in hope to create a shift in the current construction industry paradigm. The Urban Lung houses a centralised timber research and development campus that expands the current University’s engineering and architecture department located on site.

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