IN PERSON 28 ISSUE 1 • 2018 • WOOD IN ARCHITECTURE Azman Md Nor designs with wood and has his own practice, Arkitek Azman Zainal. Wood for window frames and grilles are common in tropical homes oxida Ɵ on due to prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In a couple of years, it will weather into a silvery grey colour which is not a structural problem but can be an aesthe Ɵ c concern for some. The wooden building in the tropics must be well-ven Ɵ lated to preserve the Ɵ mber. “Those who appreciate Ɵ mber and want to use it are mainly worried about decay, termites, a ī ordability and maintenance. But these can be easily addressed. For example, decay occurs because of dampness which can be due to poor detailing, poor ven Ɵ la Ɵ on and maintenance,” Azman advises. Having awell-lit and airy indoor space also improves occupants’ well-being, he adds. OBSTACLES IN THE WAY However, there is s Ɵ ll a long way to go before wood becomes a choice material in design and architecture. In Malaysia the industry struggles with labour shortage. Dependence on a transient popula Ɵ on of foreign workers means few can be trained or retained as skilled cra Ō smen. It is also increasingly di ĸ cult to have designs built well due to the lack of quality Ɵ mber supply—one of the biggest barriers to building a Ɵ mber construc Ɵ on culture. Azman stresses that Ɵ mber delivered to the construc Ɵ on site should be ready, meaning that it should not be deformed, green or juvenile. Yet over the years, people have lost conĮdence in Ɵ mber because “we don’t know what kind of qualitywe are ge ƫ ng at the construc Ɵ on site. Subjec Ɵ ng it to tes Ɵ ng at the last minute is disrup Ɵ ve to the construc Ɵ on schedule.” Other obstacles include low awareness and poor perception of timber’s structural strength—a myth perpetuated by poor Ɵ mber quality at the work site.