Los Angeles has always been a city where dreams come true and anything is possible, where people crave healthy lifestyle/environment, organic products/materials or innovative design/technologies. People are also aware of their impact on the planet and environment. All this translates to architecture and design where the demand for better and more sustainable solutions has increased a lot recently ( for example green buildings ) and I’ve been learning a lot about sustainability and environmental design since I moved to California as well.

The American architecture is known for its diversity in style and using wood as the main building material ( especially because of its flexibility and efficiency ). As a European I’m coming from a background where wood in architecture is used very rarely ( it’s mostly used in the mountains or countryside where its lightness and flexibility are preferred ) and it’s considered as a material more traditional than innovative. The preference of using concrete and bricks as main building materials is still pretty strong, however due to the environmental changes people have started using wood again and it’s getting more and more popular.

That’s why working as an architect in America has been a pretty big change and a new experience for me. Even during my architectural studies in Europe, I’ve been taught how to design a building mostly made of bricks or concrete, occasionally some timber structures but never how to use wood for the whole building. After starting my adventure with KFA Architecture in Los Angeles, I had to learn and adapt very quickly to an American way of designing buildings made mostly of wood. It’s like studying architecture all over again from the beginning, trying to understand how everything works structurally and what are the requirements for a project where timber is the main building material. After more than a year of my journey in Los Angeles I have to admit that it has grown on me and I’m getting more familiar with wooden architecture.

The interest in using wood as a building material is growing not only in the United States but all over the world. Wood’s value is reaching new heights nowadays especially for its versatility, natural strength and beauty what creates new design possibilities. It also has many environmental benefits as a natural material ( wood isn’t toxic, it grows naturally ) and a huge impact on human well-being. That’s why architects are increasingly turning to timber as a primary building material.

Matej Strbka

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