In the latest Wood Central Podcast, Brisbane architect Mark Thomson spoke of his relationship with timber which saw him co-author ‘The Environmental Brief – Pathways to Green Design’ and most recently travel to Lisbon, Portugal to judge the World Architectural Festival (WAF).
The World Architecture Festival is the largest live awards event for architects and designers with Mark appointed as a leading judge for the Best Use of Certified Timber Prize supported by PEFC International.
The Best Use of Certified Timber Prize is the only timber category on the WAF programme and in December 2022 was awarded to the Spanish Paseo Mallorca 15 Apartments.
A beautiful project where timber is used innovatively to improve the liveability and sustainability of medium density units.
In 2021, the New Zealand based Scion Innovation Hub was recognised for its unique diagonal grid (diagrid) system manufactured by USA-based TimerLab. Diagrids are an efficient way to provide strength and stiffness and require less material than traditional structures.
- Find out more about Scion Innovation Hub: A Timber Diagrid Structure that Redefines Sustainability in Building Design
Mark, who was also judge of the 2018 and 2019 awards – won by the Australian-based International House, Sydney and Pingelly Recreation & Cultural Centre – is an experienced hand when it comes to design competitions having gained multiple awards for architecture over the years including the Courier Mail People’s Choice award.
In 2005 Mark co-founded the Centre for Sub Tropical Design – a collaboration between the Brisbane City Council and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) – promoting design that is appropriate for the subtropical climate and lifestyle of Southeast Queensland. As a past QUT Adjunct Professordesignersan important form‘Industry’
There a growing awareness of the importance of connecting buildings with the natural world, and how the use of biophilic design and using natural elements like wood and indoor plants can bring the benefits of nature indoors.
Mark, who in 2017 became the first architect to be appointed as board member of a PEFC Scheme (Responsible Wood), is a strong supporter of third-party certification – stressing the importance looking beyond marketing fluff and instead understanding the product specifications.
And finally, Mark emphasises that timber is the ultimate building material. Where recycled steel is a high embodied carbon product, reusing a piece of timber makes a lot more sense!
- Find out more about Forest Certification: Understanding the Differences Between PEFC and FSC for Sustainable Forest Management
And with planning for the 2032 Olympics underway in earnest – billed as the first carbon positive Olympic Games – timber is the natural fit!
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- Mark Thomson is the founder of Eco Effective Solutions, a research, education, and design practice; he strives to deliver healthy and regenerative work environments.