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Timber construction scenarios for Tyrol

Participants attending Build-in-Wood workshop in Innsbruck's City Hall
Workshop in Innsbruck's City Hall

On the 21st of September 2021, Innsbruck held its second Early Adopter City (EAC) workshop. The event took place in the city hall and was attended by in total 21 participants. Georg Willi, the mayor of Innsbruck opened the workshop with a speech in which he pledged his support to strengthening timber construction in Tyrol. Mr. Willi also highlighted the relevance using local resources like timber from the forests that surround Innsbruck.

Georg Willi, Mayor of Innsbruck, welcoming the participants of the Early Adopter City workshop in front of a Build-in-Wood poster
Georg Willi, Mayor of Innsbruck, welcoming the participants

The following variety of inputs made the workshop very entertaining:

  • Welcoming words from chairman of proHolz Tirol, Manfred Saurer

  • Short presentation of the Build-in-Wood project and the Interreg project BIGWOOD, pursuing similar goals on a more regional level by Simon Holzknecht (proHolz Tirol)

  • Context and connection between Innsbruck and the other EACs by Sabina Leopa (Urbasofia), leader of EAC engagement, via video

  • Innovative sustainability approach by Trondheim, Build-in-Wood’s most advanced EAC by Lena Weyerhäuser (proHolz Tirol) | Example: 9-storey timber student residence Moholt 50/50

  • The Build-in-Wood adaptable building system, presented by Simon Holzknecht (proHolz Tirol)

  • Reused Wood products (via video) by Andreas Stenstad (Norwegian Institute of Wood Technology)

  • Digitalisation in timber construction (via video) by Karel Vinckier (hsbcad)

  • Moderation of the entire workshop by Wolfram Allinger (rtd services OG)

Which scenarios are realistic for the coming years?

The participants discussed in pairs about possible scenarios for timber construction in Tyrol and Innsbruck. In relation to those scenarios, the following questions (among others) came up:

How can we ensure that local companies have the capacities to satisfy the demand?

➡️ Increase of capacities (machines, factories)

➡️ Increase of human resources (skilled workers)

➡️ Ensure availability of raw material (not the existence of wood in the forests but the mobilisation/providing of sufficient resources on the forest owner side [75% privately owned in Tyrol])

How do we proceed with buildings from the 70ies / 80ies in need of either renovation or removal and new built?

How do we reduce the complexity of timber construction to make it more accessible?

➡️ Introduce a building system to reduce complexity

➡️ It can’t be a “one fits all” system but needs to be adaptable

➡️ Having a system would reduce the amount of skill/experience required

➡️ Establish acceptance of standardised solutions also with architects that like to build freely and creatively

How can the subsidies system address the challenges of climate change?

➡️ Life cycle costs need to be included

➡️ Entire footprint of a building needs to be reflected

Throughout the entire group, it became evident that the timber construction sector is expected to keep on growing and new jobs will be created in the coming years.

A Build-in-Wood “Digital Pilot” in Innsbruck

Flexible Building System © Waugh Thistleton Architects

Build-in-Wood cannot realize any real buildings itself. The project can, however, offer a digital pilot project to each Early Adopter City.

The digital pilot is based on the Build-in-Wood Building System, which combines standardisation and adaptability. In Trondheim, the digital pilot was used to model the renovation of an existing building complex according to 3 main ideas: energetic refurbishment, enhanced access (for elderly or disabled) and the creation of new social spaces.

Digital Pilot for Trondheim © Waugh Thistleton Architects

The participants showed a broad interest in the digital pilot project. A further meeting on this topic with key stakeholders is in planning.


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