24 February 2011 –Michael Green, a speaker at the Green Cities 2011 in Melbourne next week –  dreams of building a skyscraper with wood. Here’s why.

From Architecture News – As designers we are all fascinated by architectural precedents, history and theory but we often define relevant architecture in remarkably narrow terms. It occurred to me one day while sitting beneath a towering Douglas fir tree that perhaps understanding the architecture of a tree would be an equally worthy component of our education. A tree is a natural architecture that effectively does almost everything we dream of doing and yet we rarely consider the lessons that trees can teach us.

The modern and very relevant clichés of our profession – form follows function and less is more – could not better define the tree. Trees of all shapes, types and sizes are a product of an evolution far surpassing the complexity of our architecture. They grow and adapt to extraordinary landscapes and climates.

They produce oxygen as they grow and they sequester carbon until the day they decay or burn and return to the forest floor. They withstand phenomenal winds, and house tens of thousands of species. They twist and contort to reach the sun to survive and endure. No two are alike but they stand together in a forest; the beautiful comprehensive community we dream our cities will become.

They produce arguably the single greatest and most adaptable building material known to man: wood.
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  1. Hello Michael, I read that you want to build a wooden skyscraper. I have lived and worked in the bush in Australia for many years. And time and again I have noticed that trees which have been struck by lightning are very difficult to burn in either an open fire or in the stove. I have felt that the lightning probably de-oxygenates the timber. I have tried to interest others in my theory with no success. If you have time to answer this, what are your thoughts. there may be a way to process the timber to make it fire resistant. Regards Les Pick