Timber construction culture

Online encyclopaedia, knowledge transfer and participation: the BFH database aims to become the go-to research tool on Swiss timber construction. By the end of 2024, around 400 wooden buildings are to be documented in an attractive way.



Since the end of the 1980s, Switzerland has (again) seen the construction of timber buildings of international importance. In parallel, the timber building trade became academised, a process furthered by the integration of the Biel School of Woodworking into the BFH network. This led to a rapid increase in know-how in the development of sustainable and efficient building techniques, as well as efficient and sustainable materials.

Course of action

Today, Switzerland is at the forefront of timber construction technology. The focus of the new, online encyclopaedia was set accordingly: construction and design are given equal importance; engineering work and architecture are treated on a par with each other. In order to be able to demonstrate lines of development, examples of modern buildings are supplemented with historical timber constructions in cooperation with the cantonal specialist department for heritage conservation. Bridging the gap between tradition and high-tech also serves to communicate the culture of timber construction to an interested public, who often still associate timber construction with mountain chalets. In order to optimise the communication, empirical and participatory research methods are also used in cooperation with the School of Social Work.

Looking ahead

The aim is to offer an easy-to-use research tool from autumn 2023, to provide free and straightforward access to photographs, plans and publications, as well as to audiovisual contributions. This enables the project, which is mainly funded by the FOEN in the context of the Wood Action Plan, to make a valuable contribution to Swiss building culture.