Last year, when the authorities started cutting not just branches but whole trees in our forest we got really frustrated - we couldn't figure out why they were killing trees that looked healthy and young. But what looked like mindless and random tree cutting turned out to be a well thought out action to save the life of the forest by thinning it and removing invasive species.
So, when I encountered Wisconsin-based green design company Whole Trees Architecture I instantly transfered a year back. There surely cannot be a more sustainable house design than the one that includes whole trees!
Instead of using conventional milled lumber, the company makes use of what the winds in the forest have naturally pre-stressed. According to WTA,
Structural testing of small diameter round timbers by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory has found that it is 50% stronger than milled lumber. What is more, whole trees have a comparable weight to strength ratio in compression as steel and twice that of steel in tension.
Not only do they walk the forest with design in mind but they choose trees for the effect their removal will have on their surroundings and the quality of their structure. When a tree has been chosen, the bark is peeled from it while it stands in the forest, allowing the waste products to go back to the forest floor. Then the tree is left to cure for several months in the forest, while it looses up to 50% of its weight in water, making it easier and safer to be taken to the building site.
It is a sustainable way to use natural resources more wisely and to build houses that are people and eco friendly. Whole trees chosen one by one, so as not to spoil the еcological balance of the forest lend an organic and warm feel that no other material could achieve. This sustainable design approach comes as a reminder that we are able to use wisely our connection to nature and by doing so we can live in harmonious surroundings while taking responsible ecological choice.
To see more stunning Whole Trees Architecture projects, visit their website.
All photos courtesy of Whole Trees Architecure.