How the Maldives Fari Islands used Mass Timber to achieve zero-carbon-ready certification

The Fari Islands developer achieved zero-carbon-ready certification with mass engineered timber (MET).

Fri 10 Mar 23


Announced via a media statement yesterday, Pontiac Land Private Limited has achieved EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification for its Fari Islands Maldives resort, and that’s no small feat. The Fari Islands development is recognised as ‘zero carbon ready’, with villas and amenities designed to support renewable energy sources and minimise carbon footprint.

One of the reasons for this impressive feat is their use of Mass Engineered Timber (MET), an alternative to traditional building materials like concrete and steel. Not only is this material more efficient to transport and assemble, but it also significantly reduces carbon emissions in both production and transportation compared to traditional building materials.

EDGE meets MET construction

To achieve EDGE certification, buildings must meet specific criteria around supporting renewable energy sources and minimising carbon footprint. This achievement underscores Pontiac Land’s commitment to sustainability and its use of innovative technologies to help reduce carbon emissions.

Mass Engineered Timber (MET) along with one of the largest solar installations in the Maldives (>2MW) was instrumental in achieving EDGE certification. (Photo credit: Pontiac Land Group).

Mass Engineered Timber (MET) – recently featured in Dezeen’s Timber Revolution Series – has been a major driving force in reducing carbon emissions by over 6,000 tonnes after production and transportation. Additionally, 20,000 mature trees were transplanted from neighbouring Maldivian islands that were being cleared for development, promoting sustainable architecture and design.

About the Fari Islands
A view to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, one of the hospitality brands on the island. (Photo Credit: Ritz Carlton, Maldives)

The Fari Islands, situated in the North Malé Atoll of the Maldives, offers a unique resort experience that celebrates the natural environment and artisanal craftsmanship. Anchored by three world-class hospitality brands (including the Ritz-Carlton), the archipelago is only a 50-minute speedboat ride away from Malé International Airport. The picturesque Fari Marina, featuring the vibrant Fari Beach Club, boutique shops, and a selection of upscale food and beverage options, complements the resort’s serene and social atmosphere. The resort truly is a destination for the bucket list.

Local Sourcing and Certified Timber

One of the biggest challenges faced by the developers was sourcing certified timber in the Maldives, which lacks a robust timber industry. To overcome this, the development team worked with Double Helix Tracking Technologies to trace the origin of the timber used in the project and ensure it was PEFC-certified. Double Helix used DNA testing to verify the species of the trees used and to ensure that the timber was harvested from legal and sustainable sources. The company also worked with the Maldivian government to develop a national timber tracking system to help prevent illegal logging and promote sustainable forestry practices.

Introducing the ‘Skyspace’ – which includes a 400 sqm free span roof with razor-sharp soffits and a 16-sq-m hole in its middle, which presented a challenge. It was judged that timber would weather the corrosive marine environment better than steel. (Photo credit: Global Construction Review).

Marco den Ouden, General Manager of Patina Maldives, one of the hotels in the Fari Islands development, praised the use of PEFC-certified timber in the project, saying “It was important for us to ensure that the timber we used was not only sustainably sourced, but that it also helped support the local communities in the Maldives. By partnering with Double Helix, we were able to achieve this goal and create a truly sustainable resort.”

Introducing ‘Skyspace’ – an icon in the sands

The Fari Islands development also includes other sustainable features, such as a zero-carbon-ready solar installation and the use of mass engineered timber in iconic structures like the Skyspace Maldives installation. Created by American artist James Turrell, Skyspace Maldives is a gravity-defying masterpiece made entirely of engineered timber. The design called for a 400-square-meter free span roof with a 16-square-meter hole in the middle, with no visible beams or columns.

This is not the first project for Venturer Timberwork in the Maldives. In 2015 Venturer Timberwork constructed a Glulam Observation Tower for St Regis Hotel. Footage courtesy of @venturersg. Wood Central recently covered Venturer Timberwork’s striking Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery mass timber facade.

To bring this iconic art installation to life, Venturer Timberwork worked with award-winning architect Marcio Kogan to create a solution where each trellis member was assigned a corresponding roof member, and the trellis was reinforced with a longitudinal timber edge beam and continuous longitudinal wedge. The resulting solution was more efficient than composite or steel in terms of structural performance, visual aesthetic, and the client’s budget. Marco den Ouden, General Manager of Patina Maldives, one of the hotels in the Fari Islands development, praised the use of PEFC-certified timber in the project, saying “The use of engineered timber was a conscious decision to ensure that Skyspace was not only visually stunning but also sustainable.”


The use of Mass Engineered Timber, together with solar-powered installations, has been instrumental in Pontiac Land Private Limited achieving EDGE certification for it’s development. In total, the Fari Islands have reduce carbon emissions by over 6,000 tonnes after production and transportation – resulting in the island being recognised as one of the most eco-tourist destinations on earth!

The ‘Skyspace’ installation is a prime example of Mass Engineered Timber construction at work, using PEFC-certified timber tracked through Double Helix DNA testing to create a visually striking and eco-friendly structure. The installation demonstrates how innovative design, sustainable materials, and careful engineering can be combined to create a work of art that is not only visually stunning but also environmentally responsible.


  • Ken Hickson

    Ken Hickson is a journalist/editor/author with 60 years' experience in Media in Asia Pacific, with a strong focus on sustainable forestry, mass engineered timber, and drawing attention to deforestation, illegal logging, and out of control forest fires. He is also a Wood Central Southeast Asia contributor.

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