Timber construction

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Historic collar beam roof with reclining chair; the actual roof structure in the narrower sense is shown in blue.
Half-timbered house in Eschwege
Timber construction in the shape of a whale at Friedrichskoog harbor (2013)

As a timber , the area of is building industry designates which the building material wood uses, but also in wood construction built building itself. In addition to solid wood are also wooden materials used.

Timber construction is an old and independent subject which, with its specific techniques and materials, is differentiated from other areas of construction, such as masonry construction , reinforced concrete construction or steel construction . A distinction is made between carpentry-like timber construction, which has been handed down over centuries, and engineering timber construction developed since the end of the 19th century .

Timber construction is often used in combination with other construction techniques. There are, for example, wooden beam ceilings in masonry construction, wooden roof trusses on structures made of masonry or concrete , roof trusses made of timber frameworks or glued wood beams for halls and many other areas of application.

The importance of timber construction in the respective regional building scene and which buildings are usually realized as timber structures vary from culture to culture or from region to region. In the Central European area, especially in the regions of the German-speaking area, z. B. barns , sheds and simple huts are particularly often built as pure wood structures, while residential, commercial and office buildings are rarely made of wood.

In recent years, many houses have been built using wood system construction. The system construction is characterized by the fact that entire wall elements are prefabricated in the factory under controlled conditions and then assembled on the construction site . These types of wooden houses are generally more energy efficient and cheaper than traditional wooden structures. The most common construction methods used in system construction are timber panel construction and frame construction.

Large-scale timber construction would, as a negative emission technology, help meet the two-degree target of global warming .

Various courses of study in the field of wood construction and in the overlapping field of wood technology are offered.

Components made of wood

The largest self-supporting wooden roof in the world is on the fair in Hanover and was built for Expo 2000 . It is an example of a flight roof consisting of connected mushroom roofs.

For individual parts that have a load-bearing or stiffening function, parts 2 and 3 of DIN 68800 as well as the fire protection guidelines apply and only the types of wood listed in DIN 1052-1 or those with a general building approval (abZ) by the German Institute for Construction technology used in Berlin.

A fence and facade cladding are not load-bearing components , while the planks of a terrace covering are considered to be a load-bearing component if they are more than 65 cm above the ground or another load-bearing substructure.

Wooden supports and beams

Traditionally, simple wooden beams are used as girders or supports. However, there are also more complex constructions, for example made of glued laminated timber.

Wooden ceiling

The most common shape of a ceiling, where wood is the load-bearing structure, is the wooden joist ceiling.

Wooden wall

Load-bearing walls or partition walls in buildings can be designed as half-timbered structures (e.g. with infill or paneling) as well as solid walls (in particular block construction or palisade construction ). Load-bearing walls in buildings usually form a structural unit together with other load-bearing components, see below under wooden house.

Freestanding wooden walls, e.g. B. in horticulture or (historically) in military city fortifications are often designed as palisade walls.

Sketch of a roof structure made of trusses (triangular truss)
Sketches of various wide-span roof structures: 49–51 gable roof trusses
54–56 Polonceau
trusses 62 truss frames

Wooden roof

Traditionally, roof structures are almost exclusively made of wood. In Europe, the most common roof constructions are on the one hand the purlin roof and on the other hand the rafter roof . Different forms of roof trusses allow different structures. Wood is still predominantly used today, especially in constructions for roofs with manageable dimensions. In contrast, the roof skin is often not made of wood materials.

For wide-span roof structures to bridge large spans (especially as flight roofs or hall roofs), other supporting structures are used, but wooden structures are also used here (up to 60 m). Wide-span roof structures are used, for example, for riding arenas , sports halls , warehouses and industrial buildings , as well as for wide-span flight roofs as weather protection.

Tree tower with a platform at a height of 44 m. The spiral staircase is about 500 m long.

Vaults and domes

Even complex vault or dome structures can be made from wood.

Wooden structures

Systems for creating buildings (wooden house constructions)

Modern, multi-storey wooden house E3 in Berlin
The wooden
revolving house following the course of the sun in Hessen
Wooden house H8 in Bad Aibling
Timber high rise townhouse , Murray Grove. Hackney , London

Wood has been used as a material for building buildings for thousands of years. Already in the Stone Age were stilt houses built. Wood is durable: in China there are temples that, like half-timbered houses in the Alpine region, have survived for centuries. Wood can be used in many ways. Complete wooden structures are used both in multi-storey buildings (e.g. residential buildings ) and in hall buildings . There are very different constructions that are exclusively or predominantly made of wood. In principle, a distinction is made between skeleton and solid construction methods, and also between carpentry constructions and timber engineering.

Among the traditional wooden construction methods (carpentry constructions), the following are to be mentioned in particular:

Different construction methods have developed within modern timber house construction:

  • Solid construction: As with the log-exist with solid timber walls made of solid wood
  • Skeleton construction

Masts and towers

Also masts and towers can be built in wood. Traditionally, round timber was or is still used in some cases as masts for telephone lines or for shipbuilding. More elaborate masts can also be constructed as a timber frame construction. As a rule, however, transmission , high-voltage or wind turbine masts are now made of reinforced concrete or steel.

Closed towers made of wood could (as of 2010) be more advantageous than structures made of concrete. They are possibly more durable than steel towers, since wood does not show any material fatigue as a result of load changes .

A first prototype was built in Hanover-Marienwerder in October 2012 and put into operation in December 2012. A 1.5 MW wind power plant from the manufacturer Vensys (weight approx. 100 t) was installed on a 100 m high wooden tower from "Timbertower GmbH". The wooden tower consists of 28 floors and has a stable octagonal outer wall about 30 cm thick made of plywood. About 1000 trees were felled to produce this tower (approx. 400 m³ of wood = approx. 200 t). About seventy lightning rods protrude from the tower wall. A UV-stable PVC film is the protective outer skin of the tower.

The Gleiwitz transmission tower from 1935 in Poland is 118 m high and is the highest currently existing wooden tower in the world. The Mühlacker transmission tower (in D) (1934–1945) was probably the highest ever at 190 m. In the 1930s, in Germany in particular, around 2 dozen wooden towers of 90 m and more were built, mainly for medium-wave transmitters. The fact that wood conducts electricity poorly allowed the electromagnetic waves to propagate through the structure of the wooden mast from an antenna wire stretched axially inside. Medium wave transmitter for wavelengths around 200 to 300 m required antenna lengths and mast or tower heights of 100 m and more.

Bridges and viaducts made of wood

Wooden bridges have a long tradition. The simplest construction is a tree trunk laid over a stream or a ravine. Over the centuries, a wide range of constructions for the construction of wooden bridges and viaducts has developed.

Wooden coasters

Wodan in Europa-Park

Very special forms of (mostly intertwined) viaducts are roller coasters, which are usually made of metal. But there are also over 170 wooden roller coasters (roller coasters with wooden support frames) worldwide, for example

  • Wodan in Europa-Park , north of Freiburg im Breisgau (opened in 2012)
  • Colossos in Heide-Park , 80 km south of Hamburg. It is considered to be the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world with speeds of up to 120 km / h.
  • El Toro in the amusement park Plohn (Saxony). It is about 750 m long, up to 28 m high and up to 75 km / h fast.


Numerous universities offer diploma and specialization courses in wood construction or wood technology in the field of civil engineering . Among others at the following institutions:

In Germany:

In Switzerland:

In Austria:

See also


Web links

Commons : Timber Construction  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: Holzbau  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Johan Rockström , Owen Gaffney, Joeri Rogelj , Malte Meinshausen, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber : A roadmap for rapid decarbonization. Science 355, 2017, doi: 10.1126 / science.aah3443 ( free full text ).
  2. ^ Will Steffen et al .: Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene . In: National Academy of Sciences (Ed.): Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . August 6, 2018 (English, pnas.org ).
  3. Galina Churkina, Alan Organschi u. a .: Buildings as a global carbon sink. In: Nature Sustainability. 2020, doi : 10.1038 / s41893-019-0462-4 .
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  6. Dr. Constantin Sander: Building Inspectorate Approval , In: Kebony.com
  7. badische-zeitung.de, May 15, 2012: Europe's largest wooden dome (August 8, 2012)
  8. www.baumwipfelpfad.by ( Memento of the original from May 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , The Tree Tower ( Memento of the original from May 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.baumwipfelpfad.by @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.baumwipfelpfad.by
  9. ^ Sabine Seifert: Wood in construction: Renewable new buildings . In: The daily newspaper: taz . November 4, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( taz.de [accessed November 19, 2018]).
  10. oekologische-bauen.info: Holzbau , accessed on February 21, 2010
  11. timbertower.de (2010): Wind energy towers made of wood ( Memento of the original from May 14, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. with details on connection technology. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.timbertower.de
  12. Wind turbines made of wood . Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  13. Renewable wooden towers . In: TAZ , January 8, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
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  15. Giant with wooden leg. Heise, November 22, 2012, accessed November 22, 2012 .