Trees and Timber - Misc. AU
Trees and Timber

Trees and Timber

Trees and Timber – Why we need to connect to both for our health and well being.

Words by Gaea Architects

‘Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life’. Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Trees are so much like us. As we know, trees consist mostly of water, their capillaries transport nutrients (and water) from their roots to grow and evaporate through their leaves. They are referred to as the ‘Lungs of the earth’. As such, our relationship with trees is symbiotic. Our breath depends on their precious oxygen.

An energetic aura with different levels of frequency can be measured from trees. 30 years of research in Damanhur, Italy has uncovered that trees can create their own music, this has been be recorded with specialist technology. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZaokNmQ4eY)

The energy of trees can profoundly affect our energy. The positive benefits are noticed when you sit with your back to a tree when you are tired.

The Fibonacci number or patterns "law of nature" is nature's numbering system. These numbers appear everywhere in nature, from leaf arrangement to the pattern of the florets of a flower, the bracts of a pinecone, or the scales of a pineapple. The Fibonacci numbers are therefore applicable to the growth of every living thing, including a single cell, a tree, and even all of mankind. On close observation, we can see that trees have a spiral growth pattern (either clockwise or anticlockwise).

Like each human, each tree is unique and beautiful in its own way. Every tree, based on the soil in which it grew, the length of its growing season, and its general environment will develop different colours, no matter how slight. The unique variations and qualities are seen in timber (especially hardwoods) we can embrace differences in colour and grain and be rewarded with a space or piece of furniture that will never be duplicated as no two pieces are the same.

Natural materials have a higher energetic ‘vibration’ and we naturally respond to this. When the tree ‘spirit ‘has gone and gifts us with timber, we gravitate towards it. It is a living breathing material responding to atmospheric conditions.

Timber is a material that we all feel at home with. It warms a space with its colour, texture, smell and feel, making it feel human, grounding us. People are drawn to buildings that have timber in or on the façade. People who work in a building with timber will feel naturally happier, where we may feel more disconnected and isolated in a building with no natural materials.

As noted in timber + design in July Dr Marjut Wallenius of the University of Tampere, Finland notes: Wood has [positive] psychological effects on people – a similar stress-reducing effect as nature.” … supports convalescence, reduces stress and raises spirits.

… people react to wood in interiors both psychologically and physiologically, and that the reaction is usually positive. “Wood can also be considered a material that supports health and recovery,

The health effects of wood in a hospital environment have been studied in many countries, including Norway, Austria, Japan, Canada and Denmark.

The use of wood is also particularly favoured in facilities where people spend a long time, such as offices, hospitals and health centres, waiting rooms, schools and daycare centres.

“Physiological measurements have shown that the quality of sleep and recovery from stress are better in a room with wood than one with imitation wood.”

Australians typically love the outdoors and intuitively gravitate to natural materials in their interiors and as part of their homes generally. The popularity of interiors that feature natural materials such as salvaged and recycled timber has increased in recent years in Australia. The trend has gone away from minimalistic interiors that feature hard, shiny surfaces and finishes. The coastal beach house, which is so very popular, is characterised by timber cladding and finishes. It creates a greater sense of ‘home ‘with is warmth and soft tactile, textural finish. Typically businesses see a positive benefit as clients and patrons are drawn to the properties of this beautiful resource.

Owners, specifiers and builders should carefully consider their options when selecting external and internal finishes. The use of sustainably grown timber with a non-toxic finish is better for health reasons (both for the planet and ourselves). Manmade composites contain materials such as PVC, toxic glues and volatile organic compounds that may affect our health (by either sensitivity, allergic reaction or damage to our cells). Timber feels better. Consider the difference when walking barefoot on the warm natural finish of timber decking to a PVC composite decking substitute. PVC contains dioxins that are not readily broken down – these end up in the food chain, whilst naturally oiled timber gives back to the earth and ultimately nourishes the soil.

The natural unique beauty of individual pieces of timber even as it weathers is to be witnessed. Trees and timber are integral to our lives, helping to ensure the health of the planet and ourselves is nurtured and supported.

Recommended reading