The Missing Ingredient: Nature
Each of us is intimately linked to nature, through the air we breathe and the water and food we consume. It goes much deeper; our ancestors, our human experience and our DNA are all infused with nature, and we can’t exist long without it. It’s surprising then, that we spend the largest part of our lives inside buildings and away from nature. Equally striking is that so many of these buildings are dominated by non-natural finishes (drywall, concrete, laminates and more). In the latter half of the 20th century the exclusion of nature was embodied in an architectural style, aptly named Brutalism.
Since human life depends on a connection to nature, one might wonder what a prolonged and daily separation from nature is doing to us. A growing body of medical and public health research provides strong reasons for getting more nature into our lives. Framed positively, exposure to nature improves one’s cognitive function, mood, blood pressure, mental health, sense of wellbeing, and sleep. The benefits of simply having natural materials in the places we inhabit is linked to reductions in depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
The presence of wood brightens our mood, inspires creativity, and re-connects us with nature.
Big Wood to the Rescue
As with nature, our connection with wood is as deep as time. Throughout human existence, trees provided us with shelter and warmth, supplied our first tools and in many places and times clothing and food as well. Every individual piece of wood has its own character, which allows our eyes and minds to find the material interesting and pleasing. Thankfully, the visible use of wood is making a comeback in modern timber frame and mass timber buildings.
A new awareness of how our indoor spaces affect us is taking hold. Across Europe and North America new building designs are increasingly guided by considerations of mental and physical wellbeing. Materials like wood are now understood as “biophilic” (able to connect us with nature) and this is the latest step along a path which has led to better indoor air quality, non-toxic material choices, better lighting and new levels of comfort for minds and bodies.
Cornerstone Timberframes has the privilege of participating in the design and construction of healthy, inspiring, and efficient wood buildings. Our work is strengthened by ecologically conscious timber suppliers, architects and builders who join with us in celebrating the beauty of wood.
Reach out to us – we’d love to hear about your ideas for using wood in your next project!