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Reviving Timber Use in Scottish Borders’ Architecture: A Major Conference

Posted on August 6, 2023

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Exploring Hardwood Use in Scottish Borders Construction: Building and Designing with Durable Scottish Borders Timber

On the 17th of May, 2011, the verdant expanse of the United Kingdom would serve as the theatre for an influential assembly—an occasion aimed at stirring the minds of architects and builders in the Scottish Borders to lean towards the sturdiness of hardwoods and the diversity of non-spruce species in their blueprints. A seminar by the name “Building and Designing with Durable Scottish Borders Timber” is poised to breathe life into this idea, inhabiting the academic halls of Heriot-Watt University’s Galashiels campus from the early light of 9:00 a.m. until the evening glow at 5:00 p.m.

The Scottish Borders Woodland Strategy (SBWS) Partnership holds this initiative’s helm, which, apart from this seminar, has launched various other research endeavors. The ultimate aim is to unlock the potential of the 6,000 hectares of broadleaf and non-spruce woodland that grace the region, a tapestry of species woven with oak, ash, and beech. These hardwoods stand as the perfect embodiment of enduring craftsmanship, holding the potential to construct floors that would last decades without so much as a whisper of repair.

Jim Knight, the Principal Landscape Officer for the Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and the appointed greeter for the delegates, affirms, “There’s a new dawn for wood fuel markets and, importantly, a revival in the use of timber for construction, which could stimulate demand for superior housing materials like timber cladding and flooring. These novel markets offer a canvas for burgeoning border-based enterprises.”

Vicky Knight, who presides over the realm of Economic Development for the SBC, supplements this with the observation that, with the construction industry recently rebounding, there’s an intense desire to harness the region’s natural treasures.

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