Architects and builders in Italy have been utilizing wood in new construction with developments such as the L’Aquila project, a series of three-story residential apartment buildings, which provided housing for more than 15,000 people in the wake of a massive earthquake in 2009.

Over the course of five months, building crews were able to construct the seven buildings, each with an approximate 75-day delivery. Paolo Lavisci, Ph.D. Industrial Technology Timber and CEO of Legnopiù srl, says the deciding factors in working with wood as a material in the project were time, quality and cost.

Lavisci says timber buildings are more ductile and safe in respect to seismic action.

He also discusses the construction of the Via Cenni Project, a 9-story building in Milan, which utilizes cross-laminated timber throughout its structure, including elevator shafts and staircases.

 “In Italy, the culture of constructing with wood has very old roots,” Lavisci says. “In Florence, for instance, one of the most traditional towns in Italy, the City Council is a salone which was constructed 450 years ago using timber trusses and a timber ceiling. Experience in carpentry was there many years ago and we are just recovering these experiences starting from that and turning it into new designs.”

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