Architect Enjoys Working with Wood

    VANCOUVER, July 17 /CNW/ - Vancouver architect Larry McFarland is a wood
advocate, and proud of it.
    "Wood is always a beautiful material, and it adds a lot of life to any
building you use it in," he says. And what's better is that the beauty is not
just skin deep. Wood is also strong, durable, easy to work with - and a great
choice for a sustainable, or green, design.
    Larry McFarland Architects designed the award-winning Gulf Islands
National Park Reserve operations centre north of Victoria, Canada's first LEED
Platinum building.
    "We wanted to build a building that was both sustainable and beautiful,
one that did not look like a series of things had been attached to it to
fulfil some sustainable objective," says McFarland. "Integration of the wood
into the structure is an inherently sustainable move. That wood can some time
in the future be taken down and reused."
    He points to the wood beams in the structure. "The image that when a tree
is taken down, it is no longer a renewable resource is really a
misunderstanding. The wood in this building is full of sequestered carbon, and
that can't be said for the steel or the concrete."
    McFarland used wood for the exterior of the operations centre because he
knew it would stand up to the harsh waterfront location. The inverted wall
construction system means there is air on all four sides of the wood, and he
expects it probably will outlast the galvanized steel on the building.
    McFarland, whose company has been designing institutional, educational
and First Nations' facilities for more than 25 years, sees lots of
opportunities to use more wood when building sustainable structures. One of
the biggest challenges is helping people understand just how much wood can
    "Every product that's in the store has an incredible amount of marketing
material related to it but when you go to the wood area it's called lumber and
that's all they are told," he says. "There's greater opportunity to use wood
as a finished product within a building and as an integral part of the
structure. It's a very cost-effective way of completing the building."
    To learn more about the environmental benefits of building with wood,
view Canadian Wood. Renewable by Nature. Sustainable by Design. at

For further information:

For further information: Mary Tracey, executive director for Wood WORKS!
BC,, 1-877-929-9663 ex. 1

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