As a reaction to environmental problems and housing challenges in urban areas, a logical solution would be to extend buildings upward. Within the framework of an urban development project in Poissy, located near Paris, 33 new apartments were built on top of prevalent residential buildings.
Prefabricated wooden modules developed using lightweight, fast, and green Kerto® LVL products were used to construct the apartments. The construction was completed within six months due to the light wooden structures and the prefabrication.
The use of wooden structures and prefabrication enable extensions to be built fast and in an economical way. Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) is a perfect material for designing and building additional floors in urban environments. Wooden modules are light to lift and transport. Prefabrication guarantees fast installation.
The construction of the wooden extensions in the Beauregard neighborhood of Poissy was started in September 2016. The property owner Vilogia and the Parisian architectural agency Virtuel Architecture managed renovation project of the building. Each of the 33 new apartments had two to three bedrooms. The apartments were built on the rooftops of three buildings and had a reinforced structural design.
The rate of installation of the modular housing units was roughly one to three apartments per day. Also part of the construction project was the installation of three elevators and extension to the staircases.
What’s interesting about the solution for vertical urban development is the prefabrication. Each house is made up of three or four modules and one roof; the production of the modules took one month. Then the modules were delivered and each was installed directly on the rooftop in one day.”
Laurent Pillaud, Architect at Virtuel Architecture
Careful plans were made for the joints between the modules. It is possible to directly lift the wooden modules to the precise place and quick connect them to other modules and to roof structures. The hassle at the construction site and the amount of work were reduced by the well-conceptualized design.
The wooden modules were assembled by a company, CMB, at their production hall in Mauléon. CMB is popular for its outstanding expertise in modular construction. Prefabrication ensured the quality at all levels: flooring, interior paintwork, internal and external woodwork, toilet facilities, and so on.
Building Upwards with Wooden Modules
Currently, the hyper-urbanization of cities poses a multifaceted problem, resulting in social problems and also problems related to respect for the environment and health. Constructing vertical extensions with the help of wooden modules is a logical and suitable solution for the housing crisis in urban areas.
From 1990 to 2011, more than 1200 vertical constructions were authorized in the city of Paris alone, though more than 31,000 planning permission files were submitted, together with more than 65,000 planning permission requests. These figures give evidence of the increasing interest in vertical urban development.
Open Source Wood Initiative
Metsä Wood is convinced that construction with wood and modular building extensions is the most feasible and environmentally positive solution to address fast global urbanization and climate change.
However, knowledge related to modular wood design and construction is not shared enough; hence, wood construction still remains a limited sector of the construction industry. This is the reason behind Metsä Wood launching Open Source Wood—a pioneering open innovation project with the goals of enabling knowledge sharing and growth in modular wood construction.