Tomorrow's timber

A building material revolution
Event Quickinfo
Date 05 Oct 2021
Hybrid event: Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue & Click to open Google Maps Online
In partnership with ETH Zurich

About the event

Today, the construction and operation of our buildings account for about 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The goals of building intelligently while lowering emissions are two challenges that are becoming increasingly vital in addressing the demand and needs in contemporary construction. One path to achieving these goals is a strong re-emergence of a building material that has been in use for thousands of years: timber.

While most conventional construction materials emit significant carbon in their production, trees instead absorb and then sequester carbon throughout their useful lifetime. With advances in timber processing and the development of engineered "mass timber", wood as a building material is increasingly favourable for its cost profile, industrialisation potential, structural flexibility as well as its aesthetic and wellbeing quality, and perhaps most surprisingly, its fire resistance. From ever taller towers to cathedrals and Olympic stadiums, the boundaries for what's possible with timber construction are being constantly redrawn.

New design techniques, innovative technologies, improved data and understanding of how timber structures perform are all accelerating expanded use of both solid and engineered timber in architectural construction. This interdisciplinary dialogue will connect speakers from academia, the construction and insurance industry to provide differentiated stances regarding the future challenges and opportunities of timber and its use in construction.


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Time Local time zone is CEST Topic Speakers
08:30-09:00 Welcome breakfast for in-person guests
Start virtual event
09:00-09:05 Welcome and introduction
09:05-09:20 Robotic fabrication of timber assemblies
09:20-09:35 Complex timber fabrication
09:35-09:45 Break
09:45-09:50 Introduction
09:50-10:05 How can wood help to build a sustainable future?
10:05-10:20 Lessons learned and future trends in timber construction
10:20-10:35 Timber and construction: Trends, opportunities and risks
10:35-11:00 Plenary discussion with all speakers
End virtual event
11:00-11:30 Optional programme for in-person guests: Guided tour of ETH's 3D-printed glass pavilion in the park
11:30-12:30 Farewell lunch for in-person guests


The event may be photographed, videotaped, filmed and /or digitally recorded. You consent to Swiss Re's use, free of charge, of any memorialization of the event in which you may appear for any Swiss Re publication or promotional purpose.

Photo credits

Photo credits for header image at the top: ©Andrea Diglas, ITA/Arch-Tec-Lab AG.