Natural wood skin By Monika Woźniak

Natural wood skin

​By Monika Woźniak


Human population is growing like never before, and according to the latest projections, by 2045 the world would likely reach about 9 billion inhabitants. As a result of this huge expansion of our presence on Earth we can notice an increasing growth of global warming effects, climate changes, air and water pollutions, loss of lands, sea level rise etc. Increasing population rate leads to continuous growth of cities industrialization, social and housing problems, ecosystem degradation etc.

One of the most serious overpopulation effect is the housing problem. The biggest influence of this process is noticeable in huge, dense metropolises where a significant number of people have to live in inhumane conditions.

Overpopulation causes reducing of living areas to unacceptable sizes which extensively brings down living standards. This kind of housing policy causes a lot of psychical, health, and social problems that need to be worked out by finding a solution that may improve the existing situation.

This issue is particularly pressing in a huge metropolises where number of inhabitants reaches millions of people.  In Hong Kong in 2010 about 80,000 people were living in inadequate housing, including so-called ‘cage homes’, cubicle apartments, roof-top houses and small sub-divided and partitioned units. These homes and living spaces are usually less than 9.3 square meters in size, but cage homes tend to be just 1.9 square meters. These residents face multiple housing-related problems, including poor ventilation, small living spaces, stressful relationships with their neighbors and, despite the poor quality accommodation, unaffordable rents. On Hong Kong’s 1,108 square kilometers of land live 7.19 million people. 

The project is based in Hong Kong as an example of a possible way of using modular building extension. The solution is dedicated to the use in different climate conditions, buildings sizes and with a use of different wood type all over the world. Thanks to the flexible method of assembly, and easy access to proposed materials, system can be used not only to extend existing buildings but also to design free standing constructions. Modular wood system will perfectly work as well in renovation of prefabricated blocks from communism era, as well as in creating new constructions.

Which solution may improve living standard in huge metropolises where housing sizes don't meet human needs?

What is the future of huge blocks? How can we relatively easily change already existing structures to make it livable? 

Additional space, obtained from building extension, is designed to create living room areas in the apartments, the existing part is devoted to storage, sleeping space, kitchen, and bathroom area. This new apartment arrangement will improve living standards of the inhabitants. It'll give back normal structure of apartment by adding extra space for resting, family/friends meeting and other house activities. Finally, inhabitants will be able to spend more of their time in a nice space instead of overwhelmed cluttered, tiny multifunctional room. ​​

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs