Colloquium: Wood Urbanism

From under-considered thermal properties to emerging manufacturing possibilities to forestry regimes to larger ecosystem and carbon cycle dynamics, wood is uniquely positioned for ecological urbanization in the twenty-first century yet remains inadequately characterized in architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism. As the unique material properties of wood operate at multiple, simultaneous spatial and temporal scales – so should the discussions surrounding wood’s role as a critical material for design today. This event brings into conversation scholars and practitioners who focus on wood from a range of perspectives – from the working forest to the mid-rise building to the cell itself. The aim is to examine the implications and potentials of wood urbanism, drawing particular focus to the complex relationships between land-use, wood production, and wood construction. While relying on the inherent intelligence and depth of multiple disciplines, a more totalizing thermodynamic perspective on the role of wood in contemporary buildings, urbanization, and territories is needed: from the unperceptively small to the unperceptively large. This event marks the initiation of a research collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Energy, Environments, and Design Lab (EED), and the Centro de Innovación y Desarrollo de la Madera (CIDM), Universidad Católica de Chile.

Short Presentations

This part will consist of 12’ presentations by invited speakers followed by an open discussion. It will serve as a platform for exchange among the different disciplines and expertise represented in the conference. Presentations are meant to open up design research questions and potential directions for Wood Urbanism research project:

Thursday, Sept. 25th, Stubbins Room
– Presentation (All speakers invited)
Sal Craig / Elizabeth Colburn / Ulrich Dangel / Billie Faircloth / Tomas Folch / Jane Hutton Daniel Ibañez / Sean Mahoney / Kiel Moe / Steve Roberge / Thomas Sherman / Andrés Sierra / Juan José Ugarte / Andrew Waugh
5:00–6:00 PM – Discussion (All speakers invited)

Keynote Lecture

This part will consist on a lecture by Billie Faircloth entitled “2×4.” Using the 2×4 as a protagonist, this lecture will position a trans-scalar research and design process. It will link a range of research initiatives and projects of a design research team that span from the molecular to the territorial.

Thursday, Sept. 25th, Piper Auditorium
6:30 – 7:30 PM – 2×4. Billie Faircloth

Positions & Directions

This workshop will provide the opportunity to discuss and speculate potential design research avenues. Drawing from notes gathered from Thursday’s presentations and discussions, three different groups will gather to visualize, sketch and compile key ideas. Each of the groups includes students and participants representing different expertise so that ideas, concepts and opportunities are the result of diverse disciplinary lenses on wood. This session will be followed by an open discussion to present the results of the workshop.

Friday, Sept. 26th, Stubbins Room
9:00 – 12:00 PM 

This event has been organized by Jane Hutton, Daniel Ibañez, Kiel Moe and Juan José Ugarte.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].