Master´s Thesis 2020 Matter Space Structure

Beata Karlsson


a vertical wooden village

Can a modern high-rise relate to something organic and self-creating as nature itself?

Furthermore, could wood be used to give such a structure more materiality, or tactility, through a micro and macro perspective?

* The project forms a celebration of wood, its character and spirit by being the main ingredient for a load-bearing and ornamental structural program for a high-rise. Perhaps this thesis could lead to further discussions on the future use of wood and nature living.

“If the skyscraper were nothing more than equal spaces sliced up vertically (as universal spaces), it would be totally boring.”

– Akira Suzuki

The modern manmade high-rise seems to be unrelated to the organic and self-creating essence of nature. Moreover, in contemporary structures engineered wood is often only used for its sustainable qualities, but can a wooden system be implemented in such a way to highlight that it affects our senses? The goal of the exploratory project is to redefine these notions. It investigates whether a modern high-rise can relate to nature. Next to that it investigates how a loadbearing structural system of engineered wood can be used to give such a structure more materiality and tactility.

To answer these questions the modern wooden high-rise was researched from a holistic perspective using micro and macro scales. The design transformation of the proposal went through a bottom-up process with an interplay of digital tools, drawings, material investigations, structural research and visualizations. Designing such a mega structure in a future setting is a complex undertaking; therefore the focus only lies on the development of the wooden structural system and in showing the possibilities of giving a high-rise a detailed level of materiality and tactility. Topics regarding urban planning, transport, sustainability and other social or economic issues are observed but do not form part of the design proposal, considering the exploration is in the matter, structure and its relation to the surrounding nature.

“study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”


– Frank Lloyd Wright

The result shows that perhaps a modern high-rise can indeed relate to nature, by rethinking the ordinary concept of a skyscraper. Building vast does not necessarily mean the structure becomes unrelated to nature, or more specifically the woods. Additionally, adapting the framework and concept of the building to the surrounding landscape, like an ordinary village, could relate it to nature. The implementation of a wooden loadbearing structural system can be adopted to give a high-rise more materiality and tactility. Engineered wood in high-rises could be used in such a way to give it sensorial qualities. Lastly, the result also forms a celebration of wood, its character and spirit by being the main ingredient for a loadbearing and ornamental structural program for a high-rise.

“People who never knew each other but who had the same love and care for the wood they used, knowing it would live for generations. This for me is another form of minimalism. Minimum use of materials for maximum of results.”

– Axel Vervoordt

* NATURE + SKYSCRAPER = JUXTAPOSITION = highlights unique qualities by putting dissimilar things side by side



* Splitting up the volume allows for more sunlight and cross ventilation.


* This can be a way to connect to nature in an urban comfortable way.

* They lived happily ever after ツ

If you want to check out more of the project, you can download the attached booklet ☝☝☝☝


For further inquiries or collaborations, please feel free to contact me at ☟☟☟☟
+46 76818 3663
All images © 2020 Beata Karlsson. All rights reserved

Into the Woods

A Vertical Wooden Village

Examiner: Morten Lund

Supervisor: Jonas Carlson

Chalmers University of Technology

Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Architecture and Urban Design

Studio Matter, Space, Structure

Gothenburg, Sweden 2020