For the first time in Belgium, prizes will be awarded for the most beautiful wooden houses and buildings. This competition, entitled the Belgian Timber Construction Awards, is an initiative of the national information centre on timber construction, Hout Info Bois.
Wood is trendy. It is natural, renewable and CO2-neutral. It is perfect for promoting the circular economy and short circuits. For construction, it is ideal: insulating, light, strong, maneuverable, easy to assemble and transport… We asked Hugues Frère, the director of Hout Info Bois, to comment on the use of wood in urban areas.
Hugues Frère : “Currently, cities are growing and their population is increasing. However, the building space in the city is limited. Hence the interest to build on existing plots. It is particularly in elevations that wood has a crucial role to play: it is light and enjoys a very favourable weight/strength ratio. The use of wood also responds to the growing interest of urban residents in environmental and ecological aspects”.
Where does the wood used for construction in Belgium come from?
H.F. : “We consume more than we produce in our country. Between 60% and 70% of the timber comes from Belgium, and the rest comes mainly from Scandinavia. It should also be noted that in Europe forests are rather expanding (as they are well managed) and that there is no risk of deforestation related to the timber industry.”
A jury, composed of personalities from the world of architecture, construction, research and academia, will determine the winners in 5 categories: residential, multi-residential and non-residential buildings, extensions and elevations. The awards will be presented at an evening in Flagey (Brussels) next November.