Material Worlds is an online discussion series that gathers together experts and scholars who transcend the typical boundaries of expertise to posit new viewpoints on the equitable and resilient sourcing of building materials, not only to envision the future, but also to better understand the past and present of humanity’s impact on the nonhuman world. This series aims to promote sustained discussion about the impact of the building sector, examine new research in both academia and the industry, and establish a vocabulary of ecological architecture, all in the hope of engaging the newest generation of architects to reassess the discipline in the face of urgent change.
EPISODE 1: MASS TIMBER
Wood construction is ancient, and surprisingly more relevant than ever before. The United Nations predicts that nearly one Manhattan worth of floor area will be built every two weeks globally over the next 40 years (GlobalABC, IEA, and UNEP 2018). Since the built environment is responsible for almost half of global carbon emissions, it is essential that we redesign what these cities are made of.
Mass timber laminates small pieces of wood into scalable structural elements that have strength comparable to concrete and steel, enabling urban density, a key component in a low-carbon way of life. It has the potential to be more renewable and carbon-sequestering than any other structural material in existence. But questions remain. Who has access to healthy building materials like this? Are there enough trees to build the mass-timber cities of the future? Is mass timber fireproof? Will mass timber improve or reduce deforestation and biodiversity? And, ultimately, how might the built environment reflect a new type of relationship between people and nature?
Register in advance for the webinar.
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Carson Chan, Director, Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment
Anyeley Hallová is an equity-and sustainability-focused real estate developer with over 17 years of experience, from mixed-use developments to office headquarters for nonprofits. She started Adre in Portland, Oregon, in 2020 to focus on real estate projects that seek to create wealth for the Black community and for other underrepresented groups that traditionally lack access to real estate ownership and investment. Prior to Adre, she was a partner with project for 12 years, focusing on student housing, market-rate housing, residences, and office projects. Her civic work includes a governor appointment to Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and board membership at the US Green Building Council.
Chandra Robinson is a principal at LEVER Architecture, a design practice recognized for material innovation and pioneering work with mass timber construction. Her projects encompass affordable housing, libraries, and other transformative buildings that advance social and climate justice. Robinson recently completed a campus for the equity-based foundation Meyer Memorial Trust. The Meyer headquarters is one of the first buildings made using mass plywood panels, and she implemented wood-sourcing criteria for the project that supported responsible forest practices and economic opportunity for rural communities, tribal enterprises, and businesses owned by women and people of color. In addition to her civic design work, Robinson is a member of the Portland Design Commission; a founding board member and treasurer of the National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA), Portland chapter; and a member of the advisory board of Hip Hop Architecture Camp.
François Dufresne, President, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) a recognized leader in the forestry sector, Dufresne has been president of FSC Canada since 2012. He holds a forestry engineering degree from Laval University and an MBA from York University. In his duties at SGF (Société générale de financement du Québec), he played a leading role in sustainable development initiatives relating to major expenditures in forest management, forest certification, and the First Nations of Canada. Through its contribution and vision, FSC Canada continues to exert its influence and leadership in the forest certification industry, promoting higher standards for responsible management of Canadian forests.
Dr. Peggi Clouston, Structural Engineer and Researcher, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Clouston is a professor of wood mechanics and timber engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been working in the field of structural timber design for over 30 years. With over 80 publications, her research focuses on the development and structural analysis of advanced bio-based composites made from sustainable resources. She teaches courses in material mechanics, bio-based laminates, and structural timber design to architects, engineers, and building technologists. She is also associate editor of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering and has been a registered professional engineer (EGBC) since 1992.
Lindsey Wikstrom, Founding Principal, Mattaforma, and MArch Professor, Columbia GSAPP
Lindsey Wikstrom is the cofounding principal of Mattaforma, a design and research practice, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Her Core I architecture studio explores the generative potential of material sourcing, commons, and renewability, while her Advanced IV studio focuses on the architectural and urban implications of biodiverse mass timber. Her research has been supported by the SOM Foundation, published in Embodied Energy and Design: Making Architecture between Metrics and Narratives, and exhibited at the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival. Wikstrom has a forthcoming essay in Cite and a book project with Routledge.
Automated captioning is available for all online programs. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and live captioning is available for public programs upon request with two weeks’ advance notice. MoMA will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made with less than two weeks’ notice. For accessibility questions or accommodation requests please email [email protected] or call (212) 708-9781
This session will be led virtually through Zoom, a free video-conferencing software. Participants are encouraged to use a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a camera and Internet access, if possible. Participants may also dial in using a phone line. Participants will receive a Zoom link upon registering.
This event was made possible through a generous gift from Emilio Ambasz. The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment is a platform for fostering dialogue, promoting conversation, and facilitating research about the relationship between the built and natural environment, with the aim of making the interaction between architecture and ecology visible and accessible to the wider public while highlighting the urgent need for an ecological recalibration.