The World’s 11 Most Amazing Wood Structures
Photo 1: Fireplace for Children – Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter
For centuries, wood has been the inspirational muse of many architects and designers. Whether for its color, its natural properties, for being a sustainable resource, or thanks to its beauty and long life span, wood is the most widely used material in the world.
In several parts of the world, there are some impressive buildings made entirely of this material that have made history. These structures are not only a demonstration of natural beauty, but also of the durability, quality, and strength of this extraordinary material.
Most of these constructions are churches with stunning designs by notable architects. But, there are also bridges, buildings, libraries, and offices. For example, the structure in the picture above is a fireplace for children built by Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter, in 2009.
This structure is located in Norway and was built with leftover materials from a nearby construction site. The idea was intended to provide a fun environment for local children.
The Brazilian Lumber team did some research and created a list of the 11 most incredible buildings in the world made from different species of wood, which have stood the test of time. Their beauty, style, and remarkable designs make them true works of art.
1. Wood Structure: Knarvik Community Church (2014)
Knarvik Community Church – Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
When it comes to pieces of art, this design lives up to the concept. This angular church by Reiulf Ramstad Architects was built with speckled pine wood, which comes from the center of a branch or trunk and is known for its durability.
The church is located in Knarvik, Norway. Its design is reminiscent of the Middle Ages. Its facade is impressive and strong.
There are four types of pine species that together are commercially classified as Southern Yellow Pine. This tropical hardwood is one of the most important types of timber in the construction industry due to its high strength, stiffness, and appealing appearance.
It is used to frame houses, for roofing, and more because it is so structurally sound.
2. Wood Structure: Superior Dome (1991)
Superior Dome – TMP architecture
The stunning Superior Dome in Marquette, Michigan, is the largest wooden dome in the world. For several years that title was held by the Tacoma Dome in Washington until the 536-foot-diameter Superior Dome opened, just six feet larger than the Tacoma structure.
The 14-story dome, which covers a sports stadium, is located on the campus of Northern Michigan University. It spans 5.1 acres with its 781 Douglas fir beams and 108 miles of spruce decking.
Douglas fir is one of the world’s most important materials because of its large size and because it is very heavy, dense, strong, yet easy to work with. It is a very popular wood for the construction of exterior structures because it has almost no knots and can be sawn to great lengths.
This element is one of the most structurally sound softwoods available. It is often used for exterior structures such as pergolas, telephone wire poles, and railway sleepers. Its color is typically yellow-red, faint red, or pinkish-brown.
3. Wood structure: Newmarket In Der Oberpfalz (2014)
Timber House – Kühnlein Architektur
This private house in Germany, built by Kühnlein Architecture, is composed of two barn-like structures joined in the middle. The entire exterior is clad in untreated larch strips (which will weather to a silvery gray over time).
This element hides the windows of the house from the outside, while letting daylight into the interior. The entire house is made of ecological building materials, primarily different species of this element.
4. Wood Structure: Volga House (2009)
Volga House – Peter Kostelov
Russian architect Peter Kostelov is the creative mind behind this fantastic construction. It is a country house on the banks of the Volga River in Tverskaya (Russia), which is clad in wooden panels with seven different angles.
As for the design, the architect wanted to interpret Soviet-era country houses in a contemporary way. The facade is composed of scraps of various shapes and colors.
5. Wood Structure: Tamedia Office Building (2013)
Tamedia Office Building – Shigeru Ban Architects
In 2013, the media company Tamedia opened its doors in the center of Zurich, Switzerland. The seven-story building stands out for its elegant and sober wood design, both on the facade and inside.
The structure is made of alpine red spruce and its design focuses on the creation of thermal barriers inside the building. This allows the spaces to be heated and cooled by the flow of air.
Alpine spruce is the best wood for stringed instrument tops and soundboards. Slow growing and fine textured, this spruce has the strongest structure of any spruce.
6. Wood Structure: U Bein Bridge (1850)
The world’s longest wooden bridge has stood since 1850 over the plains of Taungthaman Lake in Myanmar. The U Bein Bridge is made almost entirely of teak and provides a passage of 15 feet high and a thousand meters long.
The structure, which was built by Myanmar construction engineers, carries a legend in which the element is said to have been taken from an ancient palace. Based on its look, it is easy to agree.
Teak is an exceptionally durable material, known primarily for its resistance to water and wet climates, which is why it is used in shipbuilding. It has been used in the construction of high-end ships and yachts since the Middle Ages.
7. Wood structure: Mae Sot Dormitories (2012)
Mae Sot Dormitories, – a.gor.a Architects
A group of Thai architects called a.gor.a designed these bedrooms for the Mae Tao Clinic, which is in Bangkok (Thailand).
The site, which provides healthcare and education to refugees from Myanmar’s Civil War, is made from locally-sourced recycled wood, straw, and bamboo.
8. Wood Structure: Creation Museum’s Noah’s Ark (2007)
Noah’s Ark – Troyer Construction Group
This fantastic museum, which is located in Kentucky, has many remarkable attractions that really look like true pieces of art. But the one that stands out the most is Noah’s Ark.
This impressive creation was built according to the proportions set forth in the Bible. It measures 510 feet long, 90 feet high, and is made of more than 600 kilometers of planks.
Most of its constructions are made of wood, but some have the help of concrete to keep them standing. It is one of the largest wood-framed buildings in the world.
9. Wood Structure: Kizhi Pogost Church (1862)
Kizhi Pogost Church – Master Nestor
The Kizhi Pogost Church is considered to be the tallest wooden structure in the world. It is located on the island of Kishi, in Russia.
The church was completed in 1862 without any metal or material other than wood. In the 1980s, a steel frame was added to the structure.
With 22 domes and an interior vault, the Russian Orthodox church has stood with nothing but wood for support for more than 150 years.
Its main basic structural unit is a round log of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) about 30 cm in diameter and 3 to 5 meters long.
This Scots Pine is of the best quality for carpentry and joinery. It is denser, heavier, and harder than its fast-growing cultivated counterpart.
10. Wood Structure: Horyu Temple (Last Century)
Horyu Temple – Prince Shotoku
The Horyu Temple is a Buddhist temple built around a statue that includes a five-story pagoda, a main hall, an eastern precinct, and a hall of visions. It is a true piece of art and the best example of how resistant, strong, and durable wood can be.
This temple, which is the oldest surviving structure in the world, was selected in 1993 as Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The structure was primarily built with Japanese cypress that was roughly 2,000 years old. It has been 1,300 years since the cypress was cut down, and the wood still stands firm.
Japanese cypress is a highly rot-resistant hardwood known for its lemony scent. Handles good dimensional stability after drying, absorbs toxic substances, and is the preferred choice for temple construction.
11. Wood Structure: The Metropol Parasol (2005)
The Metropol Parasol – Jurgen Mayer-Hermann
The shape of The Metropol Parasol is remarkable. Its designer, the German architect Jurgen Mayer-Hermann explained the natural shape from ficus trees and the Catedral of Seville inspired his design.
The amazing piece of art is located in La Encarnacion Square in Seville, Spain. The four-story structure covers more than 136,000 square feet, towering over a bar, restaurant and museum.
To summarize, there are many amazing wooden structures that have stood the test of time and become proof of the strength, high quality, and long lifespan of the wood. Its functionality, workability, and versatility have made it the construction material par excellence.