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Wood is good for the heart, the head and healing

Bold Park Aquatic Centre, Photo credit: Emma Van Dordrecht – F22 Photography
16 October 2017

Nature connected design and the use of wood in building interiors featured in seminars conducted in Busselton and Perth, and organised by Timber Insights.

Planet Ark, a leading Australian not-for-profit environmental foundation, joined other timber advocates to speak on the importance of connecting buildings with the natural world to create a healthier, happier environment for all. 

David Rowlinson, Planet Ark’s ‘Make It Wood’ campaign manager, used research and examples to show how nature connected design, or ‘biophilic design’ and the use of wood in building interiors has clear physiological and psychological benefits that mimic the effect of spending time outside in nature.

“For people in such an environment there are clear effects of lowering blood pressure and heart rates, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing social interactions and improving corporate image,” David said in his address to assembled engineers, local government and supply chain representatives, and design architects.

Local speakers, Timber Insight’s Greg Meachem and Brooking Design Architects’ Tom Brooking, discussed specifying timber products and highlighted many new design and building projects in Western Australia, from kindergartens to a Kimberley Courthouse, where timber has been creatively and purposefully incorporated into the interior to add feelings of natural warmth and comfort.

A number of high-profile projects on the eastern seaboard, where multi-storey timber structured buildings have recently been erected, were described by Lendlease’s Jeremy Tompson, senior project manager for International House Sydney, the first engineered timber commercial building in Australia. A volume of 3,221 cubic metres of mass timber was used to construct the upper six floors of the seven-storey building.

The message from the seminars is that responsibly sourced and certified timber has clear health and wellbeing benefits, as well as being a weapon in the struggle against climate change by both storing carbon and reducing carbon emissions.

Wood is one of the oldest and most versatile building materials used by humanity, but now more than ever it has a large part to play in the design and construction of healthy buildings for us to live, work, learn and recover in.