MetrozonesEntrance complex to the Inselpark
Wood 5 1/4to the project
Wood has gained popularity as a building material in recent years. Awareness about the careful use of resources and attention to ecological principles has also led to a sea change within the building industry. The IBA WOODCUBE project demonstrates how the traditional techniques involved in solid wood construction can be re-interpreted in a striking design.
The Use of Wood throughout the Building
WOODCUBE, a five-storey apartment building, consists almost entirely of wood; neither glue nor any type of protective coating has been used. Slab-like balconies jut out of the untreated, naturally ageing wooden façade, and are a marked feature of the building’s design. Inside, wood forms just as conspicuous a feature of the building as it does on the outside: ceilings, outer walls, and floors all have wooden surfaces. One utterly novel feature is the bare solid wood casing around the massive staircase, which eschews layering or adhesives. In addition to forming the structure of the building, the 32 centimetre-thick solid wood walls also provide complete insulation.
The Energy Benefits of Using a Renewable Natural Resource
The objective behind the WOODCUBE was to build a house that would emit no greenhouse gases whatsoever throughout its life cycle and be totally bio-recyclable. All building materials in the house were examined for their CO2 potential and their safety in building biology terms. The WOODCUBE is built to KfW 40 energy efficiency standards and dispenses as far as possible with the use of non-renewable raw materials. Power and heating are derived from renewable sources and are CO2 neutral.
In terms of building and running the WOODCUBE, its zero-sum CO2 balance reveals the potential for solid wood construction in the field of climate-neutral building and of meeting energy requirements from renewables in the inner-city environment. Thanks to its monolithic, natural construction style, the Woodcube’s consumption figures are comparable with those of a passive house (18 kWh/m²a heating requirement). Looking at its entire life-cycle, however, the materials used give it considerably better values so that it is more sustainable than any traditionally built passive house. The house therefore makes an important contribution to climate protection that can, at present, hardly be bettered by any other style of building.