Wood Architecture

Wood + Innovation= Sustainable Future…

Last week, we had the chance to attend the workshop of“New Global Center Turkey” held in Swiss Hotel. For the first time, we had not a national plan, but a report at least… In the workshop which important architects and city planners from USA and Europe attended, national planning of 21st century in Turkey and city planning projected for Istanbul were discussed. The workshop included subjects such as sustainability and the usage of wood in construction sector. I had the opportunity to have an interview with master architectÇelik Erengezgin based on his presentation on wooden buildings in the workshop. We talked about our forgotten wooden culture and the questions directed to the wood construction  withÇelik Erengezgin who has made a great effort on energy architecture and usage of wood construction in the sector;


C.E No, they don’t! When a little bigger size of the calculated profile is used, the outer charred layer leads to a natural isolation and thus prevents inner wood from getting burnt.

In the construction of utopia hall of 120 x 200 m with 17.500 seats,Skidmore, Owings& Merrill, one of largest and most famous construction companies in USA, preferred the wood as it is more resistant against fire.

Pavilh›es Tem‡ticos
Pavilhão Atlântico By Skidmore, Owings& Merrill


C.EBasel Bridge built in 1225 on Rhine River survived for 774 years until 1903. 13. Mahmutbey Mosque in Kastamonu, Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Beyşehir and Ulu Mosque in Afyon which were built in 13th and 14th centuries with wooden columns and roofs has remained standing for 600-700 years without any special maintenance. The oldest tie rods between the arches of 1500 year old Hagia Sophia are the wooden ones. Whereas, it is accepted scientifically that the physical lifespan of ferroconcrete which, they would say in the beginning of 20th century, was“timeless” is actually approximately 60 years because of carbonation and corrosion.


C.EThis is a completely incorrect belief. Forests in the countries which use the wood in construction sector never reduce. In the opposite, they get larger with a scientific approach and conscious protection. Did you know that among the greatest of paper and wood producers in Europe, Finland’s forestland has grown 50% since 1945 and, they insure approximately 4% increase in forestland yearly and 1% of growth per year by using 3% of this newly increased forestland.

26% of Turkey’s surface is forestland. And average in Europe is 27%. In addition to that, one third of our forests are calabrian pine which is among the best to use as construction timber. Unfortunately, 60% of our forestland is ruined because of unconscious maintenance. While the world average is 5%, we use 60% of our wood products as fuel.


C.EAbsouletly! Death risk in wooden houses is almost zero. The only reason of people killed in earthquakes is the weight of concrete.


C.EWith wooden construction, you can build up to 9 or 10 stories. Did you know that the biggest historical wooden building in the world is the Rum Orphanage in Büyükada, Istanbul which has survided for precisely 100 years with its 100m height -namely a 8 storied building.

Wood construction counsil houses in America…

Wood construction, architect, Kevin Cheung, America.

Kevin Cheung, America.


C.E23% in Germany, 17% in France and 95-97% of all buildings in Turkey is concrete. In developed countries, it is never seen as much concretion as in Turkey. Wooden buildings constructed in the technology and architectural solutions of the period can cost cheaper than concrete houses in Turkey as well.

90% of houses in USA, and 99% of houses in California is of wooden. However, if we look back on our history, when“Köprülü Yalısı” was built in the end of 17th century, America was not even seen in history.

And the most significant thing is that the wooden buildings are very healthy. See, radon is a radioactive gas. It was detected that 14% of people killed by lung cancer was exposed to indoor radon. In an evaluation done on 398 houses in Istanbul, values up to 260 Becquerel was found and all of these houses were concrete. In two wooden houses with concrete ground, it was measured as 10 Becquerel . Finally in measurement done in traditional Japanese houses with wooden grounds, it was 2.9 Becquerel radon at the most.

Most importantly, wood is energy-friend. During production and construction, it needs much less energy than other construction materials. Even heating the wooden house requires very little energy.

I’m not becoming a fanatic of wood, but we now need to give up this fanaticism of concrete. Wood can be used with steel, concrete, stone and adobe in a perfect harmony as seen in examples in the world. We now really need to get to know and discuss the wood again in our country which has earthquake risks! When we begin to work to spread this conscious, we will see that universities will add necessary classes, municipalities will pass necessary regulations and the number of experts in the field will increase. Believe me that it is not really that difficult and it is definitely worth to save human life!…

We thank Mr.Çelik Erengezgin so much for sharing all the information with us…

For the last here is an important source for you to have a look at;

Expanding Market Demand For Canadian Wood Products

an e-book;The Encylopedia Of Wood

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