Design and Build with Wood

Saturday, 16th Apr 2022

Wood is one of the most appealing materials at an architect or designer’s finger tips. Wood is versatile, renewable, attractive and cost effective. It’s also flexible enough to create anything from strikingly innovative designs to simple, economical structures.

In a study funded by Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA), senior architecture students from the University of Queensland were presented background information on hardwood plantations, principles of wood science and elements of timber design. Using this information and with support from their lecturer they worked individually and in teams to produce designs and models for roundwood structures. Click here to see the designs.

The environmental advantages of wood

From governments to owners, designers and occupiers, there is an increased focus on improving the sustainability of our built environment. When compared with other building materials, wood products can play a positive role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Design a smaller environmental footprint with wood

When choosing building materials, it’s important to consider the amount of energy (often derived from finite fossil fuels) used in the manufacturing process. Compared with some other building materials, the production of wood often requires less energy in the harvest, transportation and manufacturing processes – this is called embodied energy. Substituting wood for another material can be an easy and economical way to reduce a structure’s carbon footprint.

It is estimated that, in Europe, a 10% increase in the percentage of wooden houses constructed would produce sufficient CO2 savings to account for about 25% of the reductions prescribed for Europe by the Kyoto Protocol.

Australian Timber Design Awards

These annual awards showcase some of the finest designs that incorporate timber as decorative and structural components.

The major award categories include:

  • Residential Class 1 - Single family dwellings or townhouses/villas
  • Resorts including apartments and aged care
  • Public or Commercial Buildings
  • Interior Fitout - Commercial
  • Outdoor Timber

There are also a wide rage of special categories awards, generally for the use of specific timber products.

To view some of the winners and read more about the Awards and entry criteria, please go to

Designing with wood Online Resources

The sites listed below have information useful to those designing with wood. If you would like to see a site listed here, please contact us, including the URL and the reasons why you think it should be included.

Design information & issues:

An online database with a wide range of information relating to designing and building with wood. Primarily created for architects, engineers and other building professionals, the site contains technical reports, information and literature relating to timber, timber products and its various applications.

Major sections include:

  • Case Studies
  • Expert Advice database
  • Species information
  • Applications - wood used in structural and decorative roles
  • Technical Design Guides and repots
  • Information relating to the sustainable use of timber building products.

Research and information:

Forest & Wood Products Australia is the industry services company and has managed research projects covering most areas of the industry.

Reports relating to wood products can be downloaded here

Wood flooring:

The Australasian Timber Flooring Association has extensive information relating to specifications and technical issues of wooden flooring.


Forest Tourism

Did you know?

94 million tonnes of carbon was present in wood and wood products in use in 2016, and 50 million tonnes of carbon in wood and wood products in landfill.