Solid Wood: Case studies in mass timber architecture, technology and design

Over the past 10-15 years a renaissance in wood architecture has occurred with the development of new wood building systems and design strategies, elevating wood from a predominantly single-family residential idiom to a rival of concrete and steel construction for a variety of building types, including high rises. This new solid wood architecture offers unparalleled environmental as well as construction and aesthetic benefits, and is of growing importance for professionals and academics involved in green design.

Solid Wood provides the first detailed book which allows readers to understand new mass timber/massive wood architecture. It provides:

  • Historical context in wood architecture from around the world
  • A strong environmental rationale for the use of wood in buildings
  • Recent developments in contemporary fire safety and structural issues
  • Insights into building code challenges
  • Detailed case studies of new large-scale wood building systems on a country-by-country basis.
  • Case studies from the UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia highlight design strategies, construction details and unique cultural attitudes in wood design. The case studies include the most ambitious academic, hospitality, industrial, multi-family, and wood office buildings in the world.

With discussions from leading architectural, engineering, and material manufacturing firms in Europe, North America and the South Pacific, Solid Wood disrupts preconceived notions and serves as an indispensable guide to twenty-first century wood architecture and its environmental and cultural benefits.


The first proper book about timber construction this century.

As we come to terms with the consequences to the planet of our fossil fuelled civilization an urgent rethink is needed in how we design and build our buildings. Joseph Mayo’s inspiring book proposes a seed change in construction – a bright and sustainable future made from wood.

Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects

As one of the oldest and most versatile materials, wood has demonstrated its enormous potential in fascinating form anew in recent years. Impressive, too, is the modern, efficient manner in which this has occurred in architecture — astonishingly enough in a situation where timber had largely disappeared from construction in the Western world. At all events, the haptic and visual qualities and the provenance of this rediscovered building material are unrivalled.

The present volume shows in unique form the state of development that solid timber construction has attained worldwide and conveys an impression of its enormous potential for the modern building economy.

Arthur Schankula, SCHANKULA Architekten

At a time when the use of wood is increasing so fast right across the world, this book will be of tremendous value in sharing knowledge of the huge variety of timber construction methods and details which are being developed, and thus in helping to establish wood as a standard construction material. The wealth of details, construction photographs and well researched background information will be of great interest to architects and engineers alike.

Andrew Lawrence, Arup Timber Specialist

Besides the pragmatism of its superior ecological and long term economical logic it’s really the poetry of the activation and stimulation of all five human senses that makes solid wood the most unique new master building experience, which Joseph Mayo’s book demonstrates masterfully.

Professor Dipl. Ing. Architekt Martin Despang, University of Hawaii’i

Virtually forgotten over the last hundred years, heavy timber is experiencing a renaissance as a building material in the 21st Century. Wood has been rediscovered as a viable, cost effective, environmentally superior building material and through advanced engineering and manufacturing processes mass timber is now capable of going beyond the bounds that once limited solid sawn timber. Joseph Mayo’s book is a timely addition to the collective understanding of just where the true ‘state of the art’ in wood design and construction resides and where the future is headed.

Brian Court, AIA, LEED AP, Partner, The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP

Using solid wood simplifies the work of many people. It simplifies the architect´s work from the first idea by thinking of readymade surfaces. Joseph’s book contains and shares great examples as well as important knowledge of working with solid wood. Kaden + Partner is working on timber construction returning to the inner city and this book is a roadmap for moving in this direction.

Markus Lager, Leader / Architect, Kaden + Partner Architekten

Wood carries, insulates against and regulates moisture. It is permeable and fire resistant. As a building material wood absorbs sound, creates acoustic separation and becomes a sounding body. No other material is as versatile in its application, CO2 neutral, renewable and almost globally available.

H. Dietrich, Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten

Touch wood, feel good. We and our planet would feel better if we begin building our cities with wood, a renewable resource, instead of relying mostly on concrete or steel which are produced by mining and burning fossil fuels. In this book, Joseph Mayo demonstrates that mid-rise and tall wood buildings are not only possible, but are a key element to reversing the negative impact traditional buildings have on our environment.

Nabih Tahan, AIA, MRIAI, CEO Cree Buildings Inc.