France's Timber Mandate

John Hill
11. February 2020
Hyperion, a concrete and wood tower planned for Bordeaux and designed by VIGUIER architecture urbanisme paysage (Visualization © Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés)

French President Emanuel Macron is mandating that all new public buildings in France which are financed by the government must contain at least 50% wood or other organic materials starting in 2022.

Aimed at making the country a leader in addressing climate change, the mandate follows from the requirement that any building over eight stories built for the 2024 Paris Olympics must be built from timber. Julien Denormandie, the minister for cities and housing, said upon the announcement of the new mandate, "If it is possible for the Olympics, it should be possible for ordinary buildings."

Even before yesterday's announcement, French cities beyond Paris have embraced timber construction. Hyperion, with cross-laminated timber (CLT) floors and walls wrapping a concrete core, is one of two wooden towers under construction in Bordeaux.

Denormandie is also calling for the creation of 100 urban farms, with 30 of the locations determined by this summer, and adding 90 new "eco-neighborhoods" under a new association, France Ville Durable.

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