The Worlds Wooden Wonders
12:00 PM, Monday 29 Aug 2022 (20 minutes)
UQAM, pavillon J.-A. De Sève (DS) - DS-R525
This paper builds on a sequence of earlier work on the history of wood and examines the global use of wood as a construction material. My 2018 TICCIH paper demonstrated the role of a comprehensive framework for the forest industry. I called this framework Global Wood. It offers a contextual role for categorising and assessing this heritage. The four key elements that comprise Global Wood reflect the dominant processes and organisational structures within the forest industry: (1) grow forests; (2) harvest trees; (3) process logs; and (4) use wood. For millennia wood has been one of the supreme materials of the world. Wood, and forests, are even more strongly relevant today, and into our future, because of issues of climate change; waste disposal; resource depletion; long-term pollution; renewable energy; and flooding. Wood can help here. This paper is a celebration of what has been done with wood, intended to open eyes to some of the more magnificent creative achievements in wood. The oldest of the case studies is close to 1000 years old, making the point that wood can challenge the ‘permanence’ of steel or concrete. The paper includes a brief contextual history of ‘the use of wood’ in the world, with a focus on the substantive role of wood as a construction material. A scientific methodology is used scope the potential for ‘wooden World Heritage’. It benchmarks an initial set of potential World Heritage candidates. The concept of the ‘World Heritage of the use of wood’ is initially daunting. This paper is an experimental first step that explores the simple BIG Idea of ‘the Worlds Wooden Wonders’. For these heritage sites their ‘large scale’ is set as a primary attribute. This expedient reveals an inspiring variety of candidates from around the world. Other primary attributes are identified that support this heritage BIG Idea. The diversity of outstanding buildings in this study includes impressive examples of these types: temple, church, house, resort hotel, palace, and government administration building. Industrial heritage diversity includes these types: wharf, factory, warehouse, aircraft hangar, grain store, and railway viaduct. The paper concludes with a future focus. By celebrating the heritage of wood, we can use achievements from the past to inspire future possibilities. The paper highlights some key issues related to the sustainable future management wooden heritage. It concludes by reassessing the relevance of the ‘use of wood’ heritage story as an effective tool to help shape our future world.