Evolution of Wood

Evolution of Wood   

     

                 Throughout the millennia, the use of wood as building material and fuel is common knowledge.  The functionality of wood has expanded beyond those two basic uses.  Designers and architects have pushed the limits of wood to new heights.  Wood is no longer limited to being just the basic skeletal structure of a building, but as an element in design itself.

                A great example is the Thorncrown Chapel designed by Fay Jones in the 1980s, inspired by the Sainte Chappelle in Paris, France.  Its dimensions are 24 feet by 60 feet, and reach a height of 48 feet.  The building itself contains over 6,000 square and 425 windows.  In order to preserve the natural setting of the location, the chapel was constructed with organic materials consisting primarily of pressure treated pine in the size of 2x4s, 2x6s, and 2x12s.  The last and least material used is steel as a way to connect the wooden trusses together forming a diamond shape in the center.

The most intriguing thing about this design is the exposed element of wood.  The crossing of the trusses combined with use of glasses further exposes the intricate design leaving blend in with nature.  From a far one would not expect the structure to be encased by glass.  These types of designs are more common today thanks to architects and designers constantly pushing the limits of materials with the help of rapid development of technology.

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