As one of the most elemental building materials, timber has come a long way from the world’s oldest examples of wooden architecture, early Neolithic water wells. With this year being deemed the “beginning of the timber age,” wood has taken the place of concrete and steel to become the 21st-century material of choice for many. Praising its sustainability, quality and speed of construction, architects have fully embraced new types of engineered timber that are markedly hardy, steadfast and malleable.

This material fixation is largely due to one particular technology: cross-laminated timber. Usually referred to as CLT, new types of engineered wood consisting of laminated timber sections allow architects to build an amalgam of curved configurations that weren’t previously possible. The sheer strength and rigidity of laminated timbers make for beams and arches that span vast distances without intermediate columns, which equates to more design flexibility than traditional timber, concrete or iron construction. By and large, the significant advantage is that creative freedom is not sacrificed for structural requisites.

Is CLT truly the future of construction? It’s hard to disagree with the words of Alix de Rijke, director of London-based firm dRRM, in a recent interview with Dezeen, “CLT is the future of construction. Timber is the new concrete.” Regardless, this new breed of timber structures is worth celebrating, and we do so with a collection of courageous curves made from sinuous laminated wooden framework. These projects are only a few examples that are representative of the material’s potential and of what is to come…