Environmental sustainability is now a major concern on a global scale. Architects and engineers are becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental harm caused by the construction industry, which has fueled the incentive to develop environmentally friendly techniques and materials. Hence, the properties of wood make it the utmost excellent building material. Architect Sumit Dhawan of Cityspace'82 Architects shares his depth of understanding for optimising wood in the built environment.


Unlike most other building materials, natural wood is renewable. It is processed with considerable care and is reproduced in the forests where it is cultivated. Additionally, trees absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, lowering the carbon footprint of the wood harvested from sustainably managed forests. Moreover, innovative solutions can make the best use of available resources. It also allows for recycling, reusing, and reducing waste. As a result, environmentally-friendly products are manufactured through the cautious processing of raw materials.

Construction with Wood

Wood is a versatile organic material and renewable resource with ecological benefits that uses minimal energy during manufacturing. Although new materials have evolved, wood remains one of the most commonly used. It is recognised for characteristics such as durability and hardness, in addition to its virtue and natural elegance, in the built environment. Additionally, Wood is regarded as warm, rustic, and aesthetically appealing. The colour, fragrance, texture/grain, and veining are the essential features of every wood species providing a wonderful finish and texture. Moreover, unlike many other materials, wood does not rust and can be restored and preserved.


Wood is a durable construction material that can be made to be fire resistant with the right fire retardant treatment. It has excellent sound absorption properties. As a result, stopping sound waves provides improved acoustic comfort. It also acts as a thermal insulator, saving energy consumption. Similarly, dry wood is an excellent electrical insulator and does not collect static charges. The electrical resistance of wood is inversely related to its moisture content.


Wood, like any other building material, has constraints, but these can be overcome with various preservation strategies. Ideally, wood should be used in construction that maximises its benefits while minimising its drawbacks. Wood is hygroscopic, which means it collects moisture from the air, causing it to shrink and swell. While wood is an organic material, it provides nourishment for various plants and animals. Non-biological decay of wood can be experienced by the sun, wind, water, chemicals, and fire. The use of thick wood as a structural element can aid in the prevention of deterioration.

Techniques for Improving the Effectiveness of Wood

To ensure proper performance, it is essential to choose the correct type of wood for the project's requirements. The basic approaches for protecting wood include drying, coating, and preservation. These can aid in removing the material's main constraints.

The coating protects both indoor and outdoor installations. It prevents moisture absorption and damage as well as reduces swelling and shrinkage. Certain coatings protect wood against UV radiation, and they can also be treated with fungicides.

Wood can be dried using either air or a kiln to prevent decay. Kiln drying is highly effective as it destroys fungi and insects while adequately removing moisture.

Wood preservatives are utilised when the wood is frequently exposed to liquids, insects, and weather. All things considered, wood is a high-quality, durable building material. Wood construction is effective and efficient. The material can be sourced ingeniously and is more affordable than alternative building materials.

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About Author

In the last couple of years, Ar. Sumit Dhawan has established his name extensively in the design industry. Known for transforming homes into heaven, his aesthetic sensibility has found its way to renown celebrity homes of cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir. His eclectic facade style has made him a favourite amongst numerous practicing architects.

Born and brought up in an architectural household, Ar. Sumit Dhawan had a prolonged affinity for architecture since childhood. Looking at his father, Ar. Satish Dhawan working on his drawings with fancy architecture equipment always fascinated Sumit to pursue this field and he enticed a passion for the profession.

Starting with Architecture in the year 2000, Ar. Sumit did his internship from Auroville, Pondicherry under Suhasini Ayer. He went to Auroville for one of the college case studies where he was enthralled by the nature of work and decided to perpetrate internship with Auroville there and then. The office granted a lot of exposure and opportunities for the budding architect where he learned the fundamentals from numerous local and international architects like Dominic Dube, Anupama Kundoo, Piero and Gloria Cicionesi, Satprem Maini etc. Post completing his internship at Auroville, he got an opportunity to work with commercial architecture firm Tevatia Chauhan & Sharma Architects known as Design Forum International today, where he amalgamated the internship knowledge with the practical fieldwork.

He got his first project immediately after the completion of internship while he was in the last year of college. The project was a 500 sq. yd. residence in Gurugram assigned to him by a friend’s father Mr. Bhutani, who he still considers to be the foundation of his career. The residence was planned with a sustainable approach using earth blocks, solar passive strategies and cavity walls and therefore, the residence got overwhelming appreciation.

The next turning point in his career was Lawyer Dang’s residence, which is amongst one of the most appreciated projects he conferred onto, after which there has never been a looking back situation. His niche clientele includes DLF, Ansal, Orchid, MGF and many more. Sumit started a solitary practice directly after completing B.Arch in the year 2005 and founded Cityspace’82 Architects. The childhood passion for architecture manifested the perseverance and belief which lead Sumit to practice unconditional hard work. Initially, during his college years, Sumit took inspiration from multiple international architects like Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Santiago Calatrava and Le Corbusier. Soo K. Chan, Principal-SCDA Architects has been a major influence for his work as he believes that his thought process resonates with the renowned designer, giving him immense confidence in his work.

Having an experience of almost two decades today, Sumit experiments and innovates his projects with numerous design styles fusing one into another and delivers impeccable intricate spectacles. Firmly believing a perfect balance between functionality and form adopting a too and fro methodology for the same, Sumit ensures to rationalise both, the aesthetics and functional regime of every endeavour he outlines. He also believes that a building must speak for itself with its concept, rather than having theoretical philosophy to it.

With this empirical & multifaceted design philosophy, Sumit starts every project with a comprehensive understanding of client’s requirements, kinaesthetic and research. His idea is to subsume the lifestyle and necessities of a client, getting into his shoes and designing the space like it’s his own, invoking the client’s identity through the space. The goal is to continue designing veritable projects and be known for the quality of work in the fraternity and outside.

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