Michael Green wants to solve architecture’s biggest challenge — meeting worldwide housing demand without increasing carbon emissions — by building with carbon-sequestering wood instead of concrete and steel.

Why you should listen

Michael Green is calling for rapid systemic change in the way we build. To end the global housing and climate crises, we need to get past innovation-stifling regulations and well-meaning but misguided ideas popularized by mainstream media. His proposal: Forget steel, straw, concrete, shipping containers, and rammed earth. Use wood to erect urban skyscrapers. “When the Eiffel Tower was built, nobody thought it could be done. Now it’s a symbol of Paris,” Green told the Vancouver Sun. “Projects like it really triggered an innovation on how cities were built. Man moves by innovation and [by] aiming for the moon.”
Green, whose projects range from retail boutiques and housing in North America to a sustainable community in Asia, explores the plausibility of tall wood buildings -- the costs, benefits, and engineering challenges -- in an extensive 2012 white paper. The TED Talent Search winner also teaches and mentors at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA).

What others say

“Green’s Tall Wood [project] is a boon for those who are ready to dive into designing wood towers.” — Andrew Michler, Inhabitat.com, March 20, 2012

Michael Green’s TED talks

Michael Green on the TED Blog


Why tall wooden buildings must be our future: a visual essay by Michael Green

July 9, 2013

“Like snowflakes, no two pieces of wood can be the same anywhere on earth,” says architect Michael Green in today’s lyrical TED talk, “Why we should build wooden skyscrapers,” in which he lays out his thesis for designing and engineering the world’s tallest buildings from one of its oldest materials. “Mother Nature has fingerprints in […]

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Skyscrapers of wood: Michael Green at TED2013

February 28, 2013

Architect Michael Green presents an interesting riddle: why are buildings made of wood only a few stories high when trees found in nature are remarkable for their height? Speaking in session 7 of TED2013, Green shares his deep love of wood — which he first discovered from his grandfather, a woodworker who taught him to […]

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Sustain!: The speakers in Session 7 at TED2013

February 27, 2013

It’s no longer possible to ignore the effect humans have — on the environment, on each other and on the Internet. In that spirit, this session brings together people with big ideas on responsible design, creation, consumption and eating. From a renegade gardener to energy software maker, this session takes into mind that it’s not […]

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