The event is scheduled on

Tuesday 8:45 am - 9:45 am, plenary room - Simultaneous translation FR | EN | JP | MAN


In recent years, there has been an ever-increasing number of large-scale projects worldwide where wood has demonstrated its ability to meet the requirements of high-rise construction. Developers and professionals from many countries have taken up the challenge of using wood to construct buildings that reach unprecedented heights.

In this plenary session, key speakers from several countries will share their experience on projects recently completed or still under development.

Moderator : Eric Karsh, Equilibrium, Canada

Implemting new uses with high-rise timber construction

Speaker: Nicolas Laisné, Architect, France

Sidewalk Labs is reimagining cities to improve quality of life

Speaker : Karim Khalifa, Sidewalk Labs, USA

Cities around the world are wrestling with urban problems associated with rapid growth — from rising costs of living, access to housing and longer commutes. How can we build cities that benefit everyone? With an innovative approach to building design that uses mass timber, a burgeoning material that is just as strong and fire-resistant as steel or concrete but dramatically more sustainable, can help us take one step closer to sustainable, accessible and affordable housing for all. 



  • Eric Karsh

    Equilibrium, Canada

    Eric is a founding partner of Equilibrium Consulting, a structural engineering firm recognized internationally as a leader in the field of timber engineering. In 2012, Eric co-authored “The Case for Tall Wood” feasibility study report with architect Michael Green. The report and Michael Green’s TED Talk in 2013 helped give tall wood construction international attention and was featured by CNN, the Economist, the Fifth Estate and National Geographic. 

    Eric’s projects include the award-winning UBC Earth Sciences Building in Vancouver and the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, BC. Eric is currently working on the design of tall wood projects in Canada, the US, France, and Brazil.

    In 2018, Equilibrium was acquired by Katerra, leveraging the firm’s 20 years of innovative timber design experience. Katerra recently opened its cross-laminated timber factory in Spokane, Washington. At full capacity, the factory will produce the highest volume of CLT in North America. The factory also contains the largest CLT press currently in operation globally.

  • Nicolas Laisné

    Architect, France

    Born in 1977, Nicolas Laisné studied at the Marne-La-Vallée school of architecture. From 2001 to 2004, he worked with Jean Nouvel in Paris, Steven Holl in New York City; and Raj Rewal in New Dehli. These collaborative experiences taught him flexibility, a sense of connection to space and the importance of working on international teams. He founded his own firm in 2005, with a goal of designing buildings that create connections, resonate with their surroundings and incarnate the genius loci of each city. Winner of many competitions (Arbre blanc, Arboretum, Réinventer Paris, etc.), today Nicolas Laisné is highly active on the international stage.

  • Karim Khalifa

    Sidewalk Labs, USA

    Karim Khalifa is Director of Buildings Innovation for Sidewalk Labs. He has spent his career in the design and construction world, most recently leading the global hotel innovation and design team at Marriott, where he launched the company’s first innovation lab/collaborative design space (The Underground). While at Marriott, he also led the LEED Volume Build program for hotels and launched Marriott’s global modular construction initiative. Prior to joining Marriott, Mr. Khalifa managed Parsons Corporation’s South American engineering practice in Lima, Peru and previously worked in Bechtel’s power and water resource group in the U.S. and overseas.

    Mr. Khalifa served in the U.S. Peace Corps as the Western Regional engineer for the Honduran Ministry of Health, working in sanitation and vaccine distribution. Outside of work, when not tinkering in his workshop, Karim can be found scoping out his next remote adventure.