How’s this for a gig? Travel the world for 15 months visiting wood craftspeople in their natural habitats and sending pics and articles back to your employer/green building magazine back home?
That’s what Claire Louvard and Sebastien Viala are doing for the French publication Eco Maison Bois & energies renouvelables.
They breezed through Portland today and visited Hammer and Hand to see how our carpenters do things. M.A.C. Casares and I met them here at our headquarters, showed them the upcycling and efficiency features built into our offices, and then piled into the truck and drove down to Sellwood to show off the Grigsby remodel addition (handiwork of lead carpenter James Peterson and his team).
In addition to being reminded just how much smaller Europeans build than Americans (something we’re working to address through compact infill projects and accessory dwelling units), I was surprised to learn from Claire and Sebastien that only 5% of French homes are wood construction. I had a sense that wood construction was less common in Europe, but 5% was lower than I would have expected. Mostly they build with concrete over there, due in part to a deliberate response after WWII to build difficult-to-destroy structures. Definitely a very different built context. I gather that their world tour to study wood construction is part PR program (to promote alternatives to concrete construction) and part self-education for the French building industry.
It was great to meet Claire and Sebastien and fun to share our work with them (it’s always fun to talk about our projects with other wood geeks.) We wish them well on their travels!
–ZackBack to Field Notes