News I published 12 January 2024 I Jeroen de Gruijl
European architects foresee a shift towards wood-based prefabricated facades
In a notable shift towards sustainability in construction practices, European architects anticipate a pivotal role for wood-based materials in the evolution of fully prefabricated facades, according to the latest insights from the European Architectural Barometer report on prefabrication.
The trend towards employing more environmentally sustainable materials within the construction industry has been gaining momentum over the years. Wood-based solutions, alongside wood itself, stand out for their better sustainability credentials when compared to conventional materials like concrete.
The recent research findings revealed a significant projection among European architects, with approximately 40% of European architects expressing their belief that wood-based solutions will emerge as the dominant choice for fully finished prefabricated facades. In contrast, around 30% of architects foresee concrete retaining its dominance, albeit with a clear recognition of the superior sustainable image that wood-based solutions carry.
Despite these expectations, the current landscape indicates that the majority of prefabricated facades are still predominantly constructed using concrete, steel, or a combination of materials. Nonetheless, architects express a strong anticipation for an upsurge in the utilization of wood-based solutions in future architectural projects.
However, the crux lies in determining the practical viability of this envisioned shift. In many cases, concrete or steel is used because of the durability and performance. This is especially case the case for mid or high rise construction.
The anticipated trajectory towards wood-based solutions underscores a concerted effort within the architectural realm to prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness in building methodologies. As architects increasingly envision a future reliant on greener materials, the critical question persists: how effectively will these aspirations materialize into tangible changes in construction practices?
The evolving preferences among architects signal a collective inclination towards embracing sustainable alternatives, with wood-based solutions poised to play a prominent role in shaping the future of prefabricated facades. Yet, the ultimate realization of this vision hinges on a delicate balance between aspirations and the practicality of implementing these sustainable materials in architectural projects.
The insights you are reading are extracted from the European Architectural Barometer, a quarterly research publication through which we regularly assess the state of the construction industry. The research represents the opinions of architects from 8 European countries. In each research edition, we include a detailed overview of our predictions for future building volumes, and each quarter, we investigate different topics that currently shape the sector, such as sustainability, BIM, prefab, orientation behavior, and many more.
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