LONDON - Architecht Alex de Rijke, in conjunction with the American Hardwood Export Council (AEC) and engineering firm Arup,  will debut his 25 ft, interlocking, wooden art piece the Endless Stair outside of London's Tate Modern gallery from September 13-October 10. The piece will be part of the annual London Design Festival, which showcases excellence in design that covers various art forms.

The Endless Stair looks just how it sounds: a gigantic, overlapping series of stairs from cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels made from American tulipwood.

In the fall of 2011, AHEC commissioned another London Design Festival centerpiece called the Timber Wave, a three story, spiraling lattice work that hung above the Victoria and Albert Museum.

AHEC European Directo David Venables believes these types of projects demonstrate the benefits of using hardwood as opposed to softwood for construction.

“Wood construction is currently dominated by softwood as it provides a cheap and readily available source of wood fiber,” says Venables.

“But what the construction industry is not fully aware of is that we have hardwood species that are not only very sustainable and competitively priced, but that can provide a significantly greater inherent strength, he says. "So potentially you can use a lot less material to achieve the same performance and at the same time deliver an alternative look, factors that we believe can help broaden appeal for timber buildings."

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