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Design with a human face

WOODWORLD provides prefabricated timber buildings for a variety of needs – combining high-tech construction with natural materials and contemporary architectural design. Nearly 50 years of experience, together with a strong commitment to quality, has helped WOODWORLD create buildings with a human face that are easy to construct rapidly, economically, and in an environment-friendly way worldwide.

When designing a house, private or public, architects have to keep two basic issues in mind: people and the environment. The human aspect is the perhaps the biggest challenge, in terms of the life of a structure – and in the case of WOODWORLD projects, structures have a calculated lifespan of 150 years. People should be able to live in the same house all their lives if they want. Vertical and horizontal flexibility is essential here.

A house should offer people several redesign options over the years, and re-designing should be possible without having to move supporting structures or fully plumbed areas, such as bathrooms. Owners should be able to easily connect row or semi-detached houses, combine two apartments into one, or separate off part of a structure into an independent dwelling.

Fig 4. WOODWORLD's Construction Concept can accommodate virtually any type of construction need. (Click pictrure to enlarge.)

Easy access, especially for temporary or permanently handicapped people, must always be factored into designs, and requires careful planning and testing.

Balconies and terraces should form a natural link to a building's surroundings. In the tropics, terraces, and the shade they offer, are a key part of a design, and can form semi-private passages between buildings. In temperate climates, gardens should offer stimulating, colourful vistas throughout the year.

These ideas have underpinned WOODWORLD's design parameters for decades, and will do so even more in the future, as people continue to live longer and expect more from their homes and other buildings around the world.

Taking the environment into account

Since the beginning, WOODWORLD has been driven by a clear vision of designing houses for people who value functionality and living close to nature in houses that have a minimum impact on the environment – houses that are designed to fit into the surrounding environment as a part of the landscape, and make the landscape part of living.

In general, the most significant environmental impact involved with buildings takes place during construction. As a part of its sustainable ecology strategy, the WOODWORLD system requires a minimum of site clearance, excavation, and on-site carpentry work. The raw materials for building components originate from the renewable forests of the Northern conifer zone and other comparable forests.

All materials used in WOODWORLD houses are safe and do not generate harmful emissions, and the company's Healthy House Concept, with its breathing, energy-saving insulation and wall structures, makes for excellent comfort whatever the climate.

Fig 5. WOODWORLD's Modular Construction Concept for fast-to-erect residential areas. (Click picture to enlarge.)

Reliable project control

Shipping projects round the world requires advanced logistics, and WOODWORLD's system can deliver all the components required for a building site on a just-in-time basis. This has proved very useful when delivering projects to remote sites.

WOODWORLD's prefabricated elements and components have been designed with a minimum set of standard tools in mind, to make erection and assembly easy and fast in any part of the world. Shipments are also designed to allow manual unloading at destinations where the use of machinery is restricted or impossible.

To enable marketing for a new development to start before the site is finished, WOODWORLD provides pre-marketing services, such as photo-realistic 3D illustrations and animations for major projects.

Fast and safe construction

Natural construction works in two ways: protecting wooden structures against adverse conditions, and protecting the environment from building-related impact and subsequent emissions. Delivering wooden structures to different climatic and biological environments, such as tropical, sub-tropical, temperate, and arctic sites, calls for extensive know-how about local weather and local flora and fauna, particularly insect pests and fungi.

WOODWORLD uses the latest technology and has 30 years experience of working in tropical environments, and nearly 50 years experience in arctic and temperate environments. WOODWORLD structures are designed to tolerate a wide variety of conditions, including wind loads up to hurricane class 3, snow loads, and seismic hazards.

Buildings can be easily erected on sloping sites in hilly and mountainous areas, on uneven surfaces, or even over water, as the WOODWORLD concept requires only simple concrete pillars with footings or a concrete slab. Erection work can be carried out easily by local workers under the supervision of WOODWORLD experts, as WOODWORLD's prefabricated components are easy to handle and install and usually do not require cranes or other heavy equipment.

> Kalevi Kivimaa
(Published in High Technology Finland )