The second day of the Woodrise 2019 conference saw capacity crowds attend the introductory conference, as well as the plenary sessions on mass-timber construction projects and the contribution of timber construction to the bioeconomy and carbon market. The Technological Showcase wowed delegates with projects and innovations taking place in the industry.
Jennifer Cover, President and CEO of WoodWorks USA, spoke about the state of wood construction in the world during the introductory conference, “Update on International Policies Implemented – Leaders and Emerging Countries.” Cover noted that “our challenges are the same wherever we are on the planet.”
The morning plenary session on “Emerging Mid-Rise and High-Rise Timber Construction Projects Worldwide” was moderated by Eric Karsh, Principal at Equilibrium Consulting in Canada. Speakers, including Nicolas Laisné of Nicolas Laisné Architects in France, Karim Khalifa of Sidewalk Labs in the US and Jean-Marc Dubois of Nordic Structures in Canada, shared their experiences working on projects. Laisné spoke of three major challenges faced by architects designing with mass timber; flexibility of buildings’ uses, shared spaces and density.
A still audience listened attentively to architects Ana Belizário and Carol Bueno of the Amata mixed-use wood-building project in Brazil. They spoke of a return to nature for architecture and of a project that is a sensory experience and a metaphor for a habitable urban forest. Bueno told the audience, “we have a social role as architects” to bring nature to cities.
The Technological Showcase, held in the exhibition hall during session breaks, highlighted major projects and innovations taking place in the mid- and high-rise wood-building industry and provided a space for delegates to mingle with peers from around the world and listen to short presentations by companies in the field.
The afternoon plenary session, “Contribution of Timber Construction to the Bioeconomy and Carbon Market,” was moderated by Robert Beauregard of Université Laval in Canada. Anthony Thistleton, a UK architect, gave a captivating presentation on “how CLT can save the world.”
Also presenting were Stéphane de Faÿ, of French urban planning firm EPA Bordeaux- Euratlantique and Michael Marks, co-founder of American construction company Katerra. Marks expanded on how artificial intelligence can work hand in hand with high environmental performance requirements in the construction industry. David Bruchon, of French real estate investment company ICADE, spoke about wood construction and the low-carbon transition.
Languages from around the world are heard in the convention centre halls as attendees from nearly all seven continents network with peers and roam the exhibition hall. The plenary sessions are simultaneously translated in French, English, Japanese and Mandarin.
Minjuan He, an engineering professor from China, delivered her presentation in Mandarin on green and sustainable development policies in China based on carbon-emission calculations and energy consumption. Swedish city business developer, Johan Thorsell, told the audience how the city of Växjö saw its CO2 emissions reduced by more than half between 1993 and 2018 when it built Europe’s first “wooden city.” He also extolled the virtues of wood as a material that promotes health and well-being, a theme that will be addressed at a conference session on Wednesday afternoon.
The second day of Woodrise 2019 ended with a gala evening at the nearby Voltigeurs de Québec Armoury where Woodrise 2019 co-organizer, FPInnovations’ President and CEO, Stéphane Renou, said, “since day 1 of the conference, I have felt the passion everyone here has for wood buildings.”