Is Cross Laminated Timber the future concrete?

28 | AOÛ | 2019

CLT provides at least the same structural strength but is a material with a high degree of flexibility

Concrete, an essential building material, has for decades offered us the possibility of shaping our cities quickly and effectively, allowing them to rapidly expand into urban peripheries and reach heights previously unimagined by mankind. Today, new timber technologies are beginning to deliver similar opportunities – and even superior ones – through materials like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).


What is the difference between laminated wood and CLT?

Laminated wood is the result of joining panels to form a single structural unit. They can be curved or straight, they are always aligned in one direction. With CLT, however, the massive panels are large, made up of alternating layers, giving them great stability and strength, making them suitable for application as wall, floor and roof components.


What is the environmental impact of CLT?

The use of wood is increasingly becoming a relevant factor in the construction industry due to environmental factors.   Unlike other land-destroying products, wood is the only major building material that grows naturally and is renewable.


How does CLT behave structurally compared to other materials?

CLT has been considered the “concrete of the future” and in a sense it is true. It provides at least the same structural strength but is a material with a high degree of flexibility that needs to undergo major deformations to break and crumble. - unlike concrete.


Sacromonte Chapel - the proof of all this

Prefabricated in CLT technology, the Sacromonte Landscape Hotel chapel (designed by MAPA and manufactured by Portilame) is proof of all the above, showing us that anywhere in the world, wood makes its presence. From two wooden planes (9x6 meters), which rest on each other without touching, a new room is born. Neither closed nor completely open, it is a space in itself and part of its surroundings. Inside, the goal is to consecrate a small portion of the landscape, coexisting harmoniously with nature.


Sacromonte Chapel Project Credits:

  • MAPA: Luciano Andrades, Matías Carballal, Andrés Gobba, Mauricio López, Silvio Machado
  • Structural project: DDR Ingeniería
  • Production: Portilame (Portugal)
  • Mounting: MAPA and Cosia y Pombo
  • Transportation: Carrión Transportes
  • Equipment: MAP and Cosia y Pombo



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