BSA space’s ‘urban timber’ aims to improve wood’s reputation

Wood burns. When placed against steel or concrete, it tends to be thought of as an inferior material due to its combustibility, especially when applied to construction in urban environments. But the new exhibit “Urban Timber: From Seed to City” opening Thursday night at BSA Space aims to improve wood’s reputation, celebrating its sustainability and versatility.

“I’ve always had a great appreciation for wood as a material. It should be considered either as a substitute for or alongside steel and concrete in urban environments,” says co-curator Yugon Kim, who has a background as an architect and sculptor, in a phone interview earlier this week. Kim curated and designed the exhibit with Tomomi Itakura, his former classmate at Harvard Graduate School of Design and current partner at the design firm IKD.

Kim and Itakura sought to debunk myths associated with timber construction ingrained in society centuries ago by events like the Great Fire of Boston in 1872 and the building codes that followed, which restricted sizes and heights of timber buildings.

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