Wood At Work 2018:  Growing Cities, Building Forests

October 25th and 26th, 2018 at the University of Toronto

Thank you Toronto for hosting Wood at Work's fourth annual conference, where we once again gathered global leaders in conservation, architecture, urbanism, and industry to explore today's most advanced ideas around wood.  We look forward to sharing more results and content from Wood at Work 2018 in the near future. Please see the video links on the home page. 

From Wood at Work 2018 overview: Toronto has more mass timber projects underway than any other city in North America, and a history of world-leading urban forestry program. Tours of these and other landmark sites was part of our two-day event hosted by the University of Toronto's Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, the Faculty of Forestry, and the new Mass Timber Institute of Ontario. John Patkau, architect of the University's new timber-frame tower, delivered the keynote address on Friday evening.  Event highlights included:

  • Bus tour of timber architecture and forest innovations in and around the city (click here for itinerary)
  • Hands-on activities and live woodworking demos
  • Cutting-edge research on wood technology, engineering, policy, and procurement
  • Discussions linking wood to urbanization, climate change, and forest conservation
  • Lectures by authors and artists on the role of wood in culture and craftsmanship
  • Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) continuing education credits (keynotes: 1hr each, structured & conference: 4hrs, structured; bus tour: 8 hrs, unstructured)


8:20am-5:15pm: Local Mass Timber Tours (sponsored by WoodWorks Ontario)

  • VIP Bus Tour - visiting six Toronto-area wood building sites, recently completed and/or currently under construction.
  • Pick-up and drop-off at corner of Russell St. and Huron St. (100m east of the Daniels Building)

5:30-6:00pm: Event Pre-Registration (reserved seats for registered W@W participants)

6:00-7:30pm: Keynote and Conference Kickoff: Michael Green, Architect and Wood at Work founder Scott Francisco

7:30-9:00 pm: Reception - for registered Wood at Work attendees


8:15pm: Breakfast, coffee and registration

8:45am: Welcome to Wood at Work 2018 - Scott Francisco

9:00-10:15: Panel 1: Urban Environments, Built and Grown
moderated by Liat Margolis, with Jane Hutton, Bram Gunther, Jason Doyle, and Paul Fuge

10:15-10:45: Coffee Break - Sawmill, Robots, Visual Studies Videos, etc.

10:45-11:15: Flash Talks

11:15-12:30: Panel 2: Global Forest Partnerships: Conservation, Definitions, Integrations
moderated by Sarah Wilson, with Peter Pinchot, Leslie Parker, Thais Linhares, and Leigh Fox

12:30-1:30: Lunch - Woodmizer demo & table presentation

1:30-2:45: Panel 3: Supply Chains and Industry: Culture and Geography
moderated by Robert Wright, with Lars Laestadius, Rob Keen, Christine Leduc, and Grace Jeffers

2:45-3:15: Coffee Break - Networking, poetry, art

3:15-4:30: Panel 4: Wood Buildings: Design, Innovation, Case Studies, Future
moderated by Shane Williamson, with Jan Schotte, Dominique Briand, and Donald Chong

4:30-5:00: Flash Talks

5:00-5:30: Coffee Break

5:30-7:00: Keynote Public Lecture "Wood at Work and Play" John Patkau, Patkau Architects

7:30-8:30: Reception #2. Wine and light snacks


John Patkau

Principal, Patkau Architects

Wood at Work & Play: A review of both commissioned and research projects undertaken by Patkau Architects over the last 30 years.

John Patkau founded Patkau Architects with Patricia Patkau in 1978. He is a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, a recipient of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada Gold Medal, and a Member of the Order of Canada. In recent years he has served as Norman R. Foster Visiting Professor at the Yale University School of Architecture.

Michael Green

Principal, Michael Green Architecture

Keynote Address: Evolutions and solutions; MGA and Katerra’s explorations, systems and typologies in mass timber - Together Katerra and MGA are working with vertically integrated systems solutions to address efficiency, affordability and environmental performance in various building typologies. Though still in its early days, the opportunities for industrialized building solutions throughout North America are profound. Without critical political tools like high carbon pricing, we currently depend on the design and construction industry’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to drive changes in our industry. Until recently this has largely meant project by project innovations and very slow industry wide changes. Our goal is to scale the delivery of high quality, well designed, quickly built and affordable buildings to a public in need across the continent and beyond.

Michael founded Michael Green Architecture in 2012 with a focus on advanced wood buildings that support community, health and the environment. Michael is known for his research, leadership and advocacy in promoting the use of wood in the built environment lecturing internationally on the subject. In addition to MGA, Michael founded the not-for-profit school DBR | Design Build Research to focus on progressive architecture, research, education and innovation. Based in Vancouver, BC, Michael and his team strive to contribute to meaningful and sustainable change in building through innovation in construction sciences and design. Michael is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and has been honoured with North America’s most prestigious awards, including 2 RAIC Innovation Awards and 3 Governor General’s Medals (the highest awards for a Canadian architect), as well as numerous North American Wood Design Awards and International Interior Design Awards. In 2014, Michael received an honourary doctorate degree from the University of British Columbia.

Liat Margolis

Director, Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design

Liat Margolis is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, the Director of the Faculty's Master of Landscape Architecture program, and Assistant Dean of Research. Margolis is also the Director of the Daniels Faculty's Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory. Margolis’ research focuses on the knowledge transfer of multi-performance materials and technologies across disciplines, and she is most interested in understanding and articulating the emerging relevance of performative landscapes as urban infrastructure.

Robert Wright

Dean, University of Toronto Faculty of Forestry

Within and outside of appointment as the Dean of the Forestry Faculty at U of T, Robert Wright’s work is design-centered and extremely eclectic in nature. His notion of design does not privilege the traditional professional disciplines of Architecture, Landscape Architecture or Urban design. He places his work within a more contemporary and trans-disciplinary framework. As Both an educator and as a design practitioner, he holds a strong belief that “Design is built theory” meaning that the translation from thought and concept to built works is primary and essential to design discourse. Having had training in both Ecology and Landscape Architecture places design as a practice that must at its essence deal with context. The art of design is not merely “object” making but rather the interplay of Nature, Person, Community, City and Place.

Sarah Jane Wilson

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan

Sarah is a forest geographer with a background in ecology and ethnography. She seeks to identify ways to maximize forest recovery and conservation in rural landscapes while enhancing the sustainability of people’s livelihoods. She currently works with community-based forest restoration and conservation enterprises in Andean Ecuador, the Nepalese Himalaya, and Guatemala’s Peten. She is also dedicated to environmental and science education. In addition to founding a grad-undergrad student mentorship program at McGill University, she has worked with students of all ages and trained educators to teach through such organizations as Let’s Talk Science, the Tomlinson Teaching Project, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The American Museum of Natural History.

Shane Williamson

Associate Professor, University of Toronto, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design

R. Shane Williamson is the director of the Daniels Faculty's Master of Architecture program. He is Principal of Williamson Williamson Inc., a Toronto-based architecture and design studio that he founded with his partner, Betsy Williamson, in 2007. Williamson’s research and creative practice employs advanced digital tools as a means to critically engage traditional modes of construction and tectonic expression. Ongoing research seeks to situate digital fabrication and wood construction in a broader cultural context and link theories of design and technology respective of sustainable building strategies.

Lars Laestadius

Principal; Affiliate Scientist, Laestadius Consulting LLC; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

The Great forest in the North: The need for strategy and collaboration
A Swedish national living in Washington, DC, Lars has a forestry degree from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and a PhD in Industrial Forestry Operations from Virginia Tech. After a decade of research and six years of research administrator at SLU and the European Commission, he joined the World Resources Institute in 1998 and led work to map intact forest landscapes in Russia, to produce a guide to sustainable procurement of wood and paper products, to create the Forest Legality Alliance, and to map global opportunities for forest landscape restoration. As a consultant, Lars has worked for the ISEAL Alliance and FAO.

Thais Linhares-Juvenal

Senior Forestry Officer and Team Leader of Forest Governance and Economics, UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Thais' work within the FAO is focused on governance and the economy of sustainable forest management. Prior to this she worked at The Brazilian Forest Service and then became the Director of Climate Change at the Brazilian Environment Department. She was also Brazil's climate negotiator in the UNFCCC negotiations, where she played an important role in the development of the REDD system (on deforestation and forest degradation) which aims to prevent deforestation of tropical forests.

Peter Pinchot

Senior Fellow, Pinchot Institute for Conservation

Peter is the Director of the Institute's Ecomadera Project in Ecuador and President of Ecomadera Forest Conservation LLC, representing the non-profit and social venture sides of creating an economic alternative to rapid deforestation in Ecuador’s northern coastal plain. He received his Masters in Environmental Studies at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Previously, Peter has been an organic dairy farmer in upstate New York, a partner in a ghetto rehabilitation social venture in Brooklyn, NY, founder of the Pocono Streams Project, and for the past 10 years, the Director of the Milford Experimental Forest, engaged in research on white tailed deer management, American chestnut restoration, and community forestry.

Rob Keen

CEO, Forests Ontario

Rob Keen is the CEO of Forests Ontario, a registered charity and non-profit organization. Their goal is to create healthy forests for healthy communities by providing tree planting and maintenance programs, delivering forest education programs, and engaging the community in learning more about the benefits of forests.

Leslie Parker

Founder, REIL Network

Leslie Parker is a long-time champion of renewable energy, and is the driving force behind REIL, an international policy, finance and technology sub-network of REEEP that brings together the “agents of change” who inform and create system-wide strategies to scale up clean energy and to address climate change. REIL arose from work Leslie did as an intern to the International Energy Agency in 2002. Prior to founding REIL, she had 10 years experience in various posts in NYC and Washington State government, in the environment and social services fields, managing policy as well as agency budgets. She holds both a B.A.  (Bryn Mawr College) and M.A. (New York University) in Art History, and worked in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department of the Metropolitan Museum for 8 years.

Jane Hutton

Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo

Wood Urbanism: From the Molecular to the Territorial: This talk introduces the book Wood Urbanism: From the Molecular to the Territorial (Actar, 2018), co-edited by Daniel Ibañez, Jane Hutton, and Kiel Moe. From under-considered thermal properties to emerging manufacturing possibilities, from changing forestry regimes to larger carbon cycle dynamics, Wood Urbanism explores the unique material and scalar properties of wood, presenting it as a critical material for design today. The book brings into conversation scholars and practitioners who focus on wood from a range of perspectives: from the working forest to the mid-rise building to the basic cell. Drawing from the inherent intelligence and depth of multiple disciplines, this book offers a transcalar perspective on the role of wood in contemporary urbanization: from the imperceptibly small to the confoundingly large.

Jane Hutton is a landscape architect, whose research looks at the expanded relations of material practice in design, examining linkages between the sources and sites of common building materials. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Waterloo.

Paul Fuge

Owner, Naturally Durable

Paul Fuge has been involved with forests and wood manufacturing for 45 years. The business model started with a reverence for the forest connected to manufacturing for buildings and furnishings in a manner that retained the image of the forest and created long lasting, beautiful products that serve both the forest and the human need for, beauty, comfort and shelter. As a board member and chairman of the board of the US based Certified Forest Products Council, he worked to foster awareness of FSC certification and to facilitate trade in FSC lumber and finished products in the Americas.

Donald Chong

Design Principal, HDR

Donald Chong will provide ‘field notes’ on his architectural portfolio in which competing structural and material elements saw the emergence or, perhaps re-emergence, of wood — as the recurring and progressive material of choice for his projects in both rural and urban settings.

Dominique Briand

General Manager, Structure Fusion

Mass Timber Now and Tomorrow: The market for mass timber structures is currently growing very fast. New technologies and methods are emerging at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, building codes are trying to adapt and the industry is doing its best to get organized for the growth. With this pace, it’s becomes easy for the professionals to get lost. In this presentation, I will try to share my vision of the current state of the industry and its future.

A construction enthusiast, Dominique Briand, mechanical and robotics engineer, founded in 2007 Charpentes Montmorency, specialized in high-end wooden homes construction. With his team, he produced many residential buildings and several commercial ones tailored his customers’ needs all across Quebec. In 2011 he sold the company and founded Massif Technologies, specialized in timber engineering services, especially for the expanding non-residential market. With his team, he directed several projects combining wood with other materials. In 2013, Canam acquired two-thirds of the company's assets to create Structure Fusion and thus meeting customer demands by filling the product offering. Dominique is CEO of Structure Fusion.

Christine Leduc

Director, Public Affairs, EACOM

Christine currently works as the Director of Public Affairs with EACOM Timber Corporations. Prior to this she held policy positions in the office of the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and the Ontario Forest Industries Association and in 2015 was a recipient of the Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry and the Ontario Professional Foresters Association Fernow Award. Christine is a member of the advisory council for the It Takes a Forest campaign. Through her preprofessional endeavours with Forests Ontario, she has firsthand knowledge of the power that connecting youth to nature has in influencing fields of study. She is a graduate of UofT’s Master of Forest Conservation program.

Leigh Fox

Director, Fair Trade Carbon Uganda Ltd, Rainforest Field Services

Village Direct Investment: Access to Capital and Joint Venture Models with Youth in the FOFW Network: Following three workshops held in Africa as part of the Future of Forest Work and Communities project in 2017, FTCU Directors have been working with participants from the Lwanunda workshop on joint venture investments as a solution to an almost universal desire amongst youth to engage in small, forest and community-based, enterprises.

Leigh Fox is a professional treeplanter and founding Director of Fair Trade Carbon Uganda Ltd., a treeplanting and forest management company operating in Western Uganda since 2005. Joint venture contracts with farmers, a 'work for school fees' program for students, and an employee and family health care policy are all features of an African treeplanting company that was conceptualized on a cutblock and financed by trees planted on the West Coast of BC. Leigh holds a BA in Political Science and an MSc in Forestry. His Graduate work focused on Forestry and Food Security in Africa.

Sacha Gendron

Urban Sawyer & Reclaimer

Grace Jeffers

Principal, Grace Jeffers Design

Grace Jeffers is an esteemed design historian who focuses exclusively on materials. A graduate of the Bard Graduate Center, Jeffers is intent on considering the "big picture" of design. Her unique approach blends material science with social history, art history and design practice. She teaches people how to think differently about design.

Bram Gunther

President, Natural Areas Conservancy

What can NYC do with 40,000 tons of "waste" wood?
A Parks Department perspective on using the wood from NYC's forests more productively.
Bram Gunther is Co-Director of the Urban Field Station, the science and research hub of Forestry, Horticulture, and Natural Resources of the New York City Parks Department, which is co-run by the U.S. Forest Service. He was previously Chief of Forestry, Horticulture, and Natural Resources. He is also Co-Founder and President of the Natural Areas Conservancy, a public/private partnership established to unify the City's efforts to conserve, restore, and protect tens of thousands of acres of municipal forests, wetlands, and grasslands. He joined the New York City Parks Department in 1991 as an Urban Park Ranger. Three years later, he became the Citywide Director of the Rangers. He transferred to Central Forestry in 2000 and first as Deputy Chief and then as Chief oversaw the growth of the division. He has a bachelor’s degree in American literature from State University of New York at Purchase and a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Sacha Gendron

Urban Sawyer & Reclaimer

David Barmon

Epilogue LLC; Co-owner, Urban Lumber Sawmill, and Furniture Builder

Towards a more holistic urban forestry system
Every year in North America, billions of dollars of potential lumber from urban trees is destroyed as firewood, mulched or taken to the landfill. Every tree in every city will die. Why not have a plan for the wood? If we can grow food in the city, why not grow lumber in the city too? David Barmon will discuss not only how to better utilize the wood from current removals but also retool urban forestry to plan for the future with urban lumber in mind.

Over the last decade, David has been a strong advocate not only for the better utilization of wood from urban tree removals but also for intentionally growing urban trees for lumber. In 2015, David worked with the Oregon State legislature to fund the Clackamas County Urban Lumber Pilot Project, a feasibility study to determine the economics of a more holistic urban forestry system. David envisions a future where urban trees can be planted and managed to yield high quality lumber. This will give landowners an incentive to plant billions of new trees around the world and stop the rampant waste of chopping up city's trees.

Joe Vaccaro

CEO, Ontario Home Builders

Joe Vaccaro is the CEO of the Ontario Home Builders' Association. His previous experience includes serving as the VP of Policy and Government Relations at the Building Industry and Land Development Association. The Ontario Home Builders’ Association is the voice of the residential construction industry in Ontario and represents an industry that contributes over $34 billion dollars to Ontario’s economy and employs more than 334,000 people across the province.

Eric Davies

PhD. Candidate, University of Toronto Faculty of Forestry

Eric Davies is a PhD candidate at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry. He was the coordinator of the Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study for which he received the Rising Star award of the Aster Awards 2016.

Mike Yorke

President, Carpenters' Union Local 27

Mike Yorke, President and Senior Business Representative of Carpenters Local 27 of the Carpenters District Council of Ontario, has over 25 years of experience in Ontario’s unionized construction industry.  Local 27 represents 7000 members of the Council 22,000 full membership.  As President, Mr. Yorke has extensive knowledge of collective bargaining and arbitration issues as well as being involved in numerous political, community and training initiatives.

Wood at Work 2018 was generously sponsored by:

Daniels Logo 2
Forests Ontario Logo

Interested in becoming a sponsor of Wood at Work 2019?

Please contact Scott Francisco at scott@pilot-projects.org. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available at the Walnut, Cedar, Spruce, and Pine levels.