Mass Madera is a newly established network bringing together key agents, leaders, and pioneers in the use of industrialised solid wood. The main mission of Mass Madera is to speed up the use of industrialised solid wood in Spain to reduce the emissions associated with the building sector while continuing to provide housing to a growing population.
The Mass Madera network was presented in an event held in Madrid, on 8 July 2022. This meeting was meant as an alignment session to set the direction of this initiative. The official launch will take place in Barcelona in October during the EFI 2022 Annual Conference.
The event saw the participation of representatives of many relevant organisations: the director of the initiative, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia led by Vicente Guallart, its promoter Laudes Foundation – Built by Nature, its supporters Observatorio 2030 del Consejo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos de España and European Forest Institute, key institutional actors such as the Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) and the Mayor of Lugo, a pioneering city in timber construction and forestry management in Galicia, Spain, and businesses innovating the use of wood in buildings, such as Woodea and SUMA Arquitectos.
This wide array of participants with diverse profiles offered their unique perspectives on strategies for engaging designers, developers and manufacturers. They also identified key initiatives critical for Mass Madera’s success, such as educational programming, cost barriers analysis and pilot projects.
EFI was closely involved in this dialogue, since the Head of the European Forest Institute’s Mediterranean Facility (EFIMED) Michele Bozzano was a key speaker of the presentation. EFIMED contributed to this event highlighting how the use of industrialised solid wood is a relevant factor for bioeconomy: the use of wood in construction enables the reduction of carbon emissions, while promoting the green transition of urban environments. Furthermore, due to its renewable origin and its carbon storing abilities, wood also has enormous potential for the construction industry in a circular economy perspective.
Another point emphasised by EFIMED is the link between wood production and sustainable forest management. When forests are left to their own devices can become very fragile, especially in the face of climate change and extreme weather phenomena. Managing forests in a sustainable way means helping them to regenerate and adapt, increasing their biodiversity: giving new plants room to grow increases their genetic variability, strengthening their adaptability to changing climatic conditions. In this context, producing timber becomes a resource both to keep forests well-maintained and clean, and to benefit economically from them, further financing their sustainable management and supporting rural development.
The key message conveyed by Michele Bozzano to the attendees from the construction industry was that, in the face of climate change, it is crucial to find a synergy between the need to use more wood in constructions and at the same time strengthen biodiversity in forests to increase their resilience. The ability of forests to adapt to new climatic conditions is conditional to an increase of diversity of the species which inhabit them: therefore, the architecture and construction industry must take advantage of this variety of woods. Only an engineering effort to utilise this wide genetic diversity to its full potential will be able to prevent the neglect of those woods not traditionally used in construction.