South Korea scales new heights with wood

South Korea has jumped on the tall wood bandwagon, unveiling a four-storey research institute that currently holds the record for the country’s largest wooden frame construction.

The Forest Genetic Resources Department (FGRD) at the Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI) 


The central laboratory of the Forest Genetic Resources Department (FGRD) at the Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI) in Suwon City, Gyeonggi province, sits on a land area of 4,500m2 and was designed as a post and beam construction using glulam made of Korean Larch.

Bae Ki-Cheol, principal architect of IDS Architects, who designed the laboratory was inspired by multi-storey and hybrid buildings made of wooden frames during a trade mission to Canada organised by Canada Wood’s Korea office in 2014. He was since interested in wood frame construction and proposed it for the new lab, which won first place in a design competition in June 2013.

As glulam is structurally sound for multi-storey and large-scale wood frame construction, the engineered wood product has drawn keen attention from the building industry.

Professor Park Moon-Jae, director of the Department of Forest Products at KFRI said, “The completion of this building is recorded as the first successful example for boosting multi-storey wood frame constructions in Korea. Based on this, KFRI will continue research and development, aiming to build a five-storey wood frame construction by 2018 and a 10-storey wood framed apartment by 2022.”

Images: Innovative Design Studio, Inc.