We often sit back and marvel at the beauty of our timber frame home, but it’s easy to forget that timber frames are solid and strong, carrying their loads with dignity for generations. Wood is a very forgiving building material. As in nature, it offers strength along with it’s flexibility.
We can look at buildings around the world, building built with wood and joinery, much as timber frames are built today and get an idea of the sustainability of timber frames.
The gingerbread houses in Haiti offer a look at how timber frames handled the devastating earthquake. The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute found that only 10% of these homes suffered more than moderate damage, while many or most of the other buildings suffered irreparable damage (13 of 15 government buildings collapsed). Many of these gingerbread homes had little or no maintenance and still survived better than newer construction.
With better understanding of engineering, today’s timber frames are built to withstand the forces of nature and man. What a great way to build and a secure way to live.