The Case for Tall Wood Buildings
Design Construction and Performance
There is nature and there is architecture. But does the second have to come at cost of the first? Through his radical, beautiful, and sustainable construction of tall wood buildings, award-winning architect Michael Green works to solve worldwide housing demand while also reducing carbon emissions. His talks offer innovative and sustainable ideas that you can apply to how you work, live, and heal the planet.
In the next 30 years, more than 4 billion people will be in need of a home, says paradigm-shifting architect Michael Green. However, the more we construct out of steel and concrete, the more carbon emissions we pump into the atmosphere—and simultaneously, we’ve been told that we have less than 12 years to reverse the effects of climate change. The math isn’t in our favor—so what’s the solution? As Green has both scientifically verified and engineered around, a solution comes in the form of tall wood buildings: affordable, structurally viable, and capable of sucking carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it. In his celebrated TED Talk (more than 1.5 million views) and in practical, hopeful, and technologically innovative talks, Green shows audiences that the engineering is easy. It’s changing society’s perception of possibility that’s hard—and that’s what he’s here for.
Green’s firm, Michael Green Architecture, designs advanced wood buildings around the world, with current projects in Paris, New York, Chicago, Portland and Vancouver. Green also runs the not-for-profit school, Design Build Research (DBR), and created Timber Online Education, which provides free global online courses to advance more environmentally sound and safe buildings around the world.
Today half of us live in cities, and by the year 2040, that number will grow to 75%. Where will future city-dwellers live? The challenge for architects and society is to find a solution to housing all these people, says Michael Green. But, almost half of our greenhouse gases are related to the building industry, and if we look at energy, it’s the same story. In this invigorating and revolutionary design talk, Green shows why wood is the only buildable resource that will actually contain the carbon that would otherwise go back into the environment. One cubic meter of young growth wood will sequester one ton of CO2 , he says—that’s an elephant’s weight in emissions. This isn’t simply about environmental change. It’s about proving ourselves capable of new, world-changing innovation, as Gustave Eiffel did with the Eiffel Tower, thought to be impossible at the time it was designed. You will leave this talk hopeful, inspired, and ready to pursue your own “Eiffel Tower Moment.”