The article was originally published in the December 2012 print and digital editions of ARCHITECT magazine.
Specifying a building material considers structure, functionality and the aesthetics of the built project and environment. Architects specify wood for many reasons, including cost, availability, ease of construction, thermal performance, aesthetics and design versatility. Research and new product development have only added to the versatility of building with wood. New products enable increased dimensional stability, higher strength-to-weight ratios, and greater long-span capabilities.
Keeping wood free from decay and pests is a function of following good design, construction and maintenance practices—all areas in which architects can influence the optimum use of wood to create buildings that benefit owners, occupants and the environment. Wood products generally have the lowest environmental impacts of the major construction materials used in the United States.