The Possibilities of Wood

A giant bug’s shell, an oval-shaped beehive and a twisted construction.

In nature, it is vital to construct system that are efficient and to prevent waste.  The principle “less is more” is often used to ensure that materials are used in the best possible way.  Students at The School of Architecture at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, have made a sustainable design that uses natural principles. The pavilion is constructed from wood.

Why use wood?

Wooden structures absorb and store atmospheric CO2 and wood is regarded as a carbon neutral construction material (even taking into account haulage). Many countries also has a policy where one tree has to be planted for every tree that has been cut.


The shell-like organic looking structure may look weak but it is surprising strong and also easy to transport. Natural light is let in from every possible angle. Imagine this structure covered with some insulating material and we have an easy to construct and affordable home.

The structure is called Bowooss which can be roughly translate into “bionic optimized wood shells with sustainability”. These kind of structures have rarely been made in wood and this approach embraces the increasing demands for building more sustainable houses.


In the video below we can see another approach to using timber, milled plywood, where the purpose is to gain full control of such material behavior. The TWIST is a design and construction project developed by the Emergent Technologies and Design Programme (EmTech) at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

Here the focus is on exploiting the exploiting the anisotropic properties of plywood.  You can read more about this project here.