Panels & Furniture Asia Nov/Dec 2020

November / December 2020, Issue 6 | Panels & Furniture Asia 50 | MATERIALS INTO THE WOODS: HOW A RESURGENCE IN TIMBER COULD REDEFINE CONSTRUCTION By Serena Yap The rise of mass engineered timber (MET) has ushered in a new era of building with wood, with exciting possibilities to design structures of unprecedented complexity and scale. But what’s most exciting about the new age of timber is what it could mean for the industry in terms of sustainability and automation. Architect’s render of the upcoming Academic Building South at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore O ne interesting aspect to our “age of disruption” is the perception that a business or product that “disrupts” is completely new – a new model, new thinking or new way of operating. And while that perception is valid for some “disruptions”, it doesn’t apply to all. So, is it time to disrupt how we look at disruption? In the world of construction, we’re currently living through something of a 19th-century gold rush, only that this time we’re not heading to the wilds in search of precious metals, but something far more prosaic – wood. Timber has the potential to be one of the most significant disruptors to our industry in recent years even though it’s one the oldest construction materials known to man. This paradox goes against what many would think of as disruption, but the revolution in timber construction is real and we’re just at the beginning. As Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School noted, disruptors come frombelowand at Aurecon that’s how we feel about the modern reincarnation of timber construction. BRANCHING OUT Timber buildings are on the rise. In just the past couple of years, Aurecon has worked on a number of significant projects in Asia Pacific for commercial, educational and sports use. One of which is Asia’s largest timber building that is currently taking shape