From the Atacama desert to "Tierra del Fuego": recent developments in the Chilean timber industry
Juan José Ugarte on behalf of UC's Timber Innovation Center (Centro UC de Innovación en Madera, CIM UC); Universidad de Concepción; Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile)
Chile’s unique geography presents an attractive field to explore the response of wood and building typologies to extreme climate conditions (from dry northern desert to rainy south) in a territory prone to seismic activity and natural hazards, with vast forest resources which includes pine radiata, a fast-growing and ductile wood specie which is distributed to major markets worldwide, along with extensive reserves of native wood.
Such conditions have already served as test bed for scientific initiatives which have searched for solutions involving specific parts and components, the study of the response of timber building envelopes to climatic zones, new prefabrication systems to produce timber housing units, new building envelopes tested against different Chilean climates, among others. These initiatives have been supported by the joint efforts of the State, the universities, and companies in the area of materials as well as building companies, thus opening new knowledge areas and new fields for practical applications. In parallel, local designers had made of wood a predominant building material for unique pieces of contemporary architecture which have achieved international recognition.
The Chilean Timber Research Network, compromised by UC's Timber Innovation Center (Centro UC de Innovación en Madera, CIM UC), Universidad de Concepción and Universidad Austral de Chile, is a key actor on this process and is currently leading research on the following topics:
- Sustainable building on timber. Energy-efficiency and indoor comfort research in timber buildings, including the construction of three prototypes in three different climatic zones (North, center and South) which includes testing the quality of wood products, the application of innovative technologies and the constructive process
- The use of wood in prefabricated building systems. Applications of prefabrication technologies for niche industries. The study and assessment of timber components for the mining sector, social housing and emergency shelters. Testing of structural systems for mid-rise buildings to respond seismic stress.
- The collaborative work between university, government and wood industry. An integration model for research collaboration will be discussed, which includes research universities, technical institutes and the State to establish a timber research network
- New applications for native wood in natural resource clusters. Testing of Lenga for wine production along with new uses and production processes for cardboard products.
Presentations will cover the aforementioned topics, with the involvement of key scientists, researchers, practitioners and industry representatives from the Chilean building industry.
Submit an abstract to this mini-symposium here.