FIFTH WOOD Conference - «The new passion - create something with wood»

internationa convention center

On 17.02.2015 the Fifth Wood Conference was held at the CTICC (East and West Ballroom) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Under the leadership of George Kuratle, the organizational team planned the five-year anniversary event of Wood Conference.

The following persons formed part of the team:

• Zaida Davids (Administration and coordinating the event)

• Klara Popova (online registration)

• Silvia Furlan (Marketing and booklet)

• Thomas Rohner (contents and program)

• Katharina Liedtke (support organisation)


The goal of all conferences is held to convey inspiration and knowledge about wood as a material, a material for energy-efficient construction, sustainability and CO2 neutrality. The success story of Wood Conference, which is open to architects, builders wood, investors, designers, project managers, educators and students who are interested in wood, reads as follows:

2011 "wood as a universal material for innovative, sustainable and modern architecture"

70 participants

2012 "Cutting edge knowledge for living and building"

120 participants

2013 ", inspired by nature," Wood - a sustainable building system

250 participants

2014 "Global value and sustainability by using wood»

350 participants

2015 «The new passion - create something with wood»

over 730 registrations


At 9:00 clock Roger Kuratle opened the conference with the welcoming of the participants, the speakers and the sponsors.

Hannu Garny, Master Ceremonies, conducted in sequence through the entire conference. Originally from Namibia and living in Cape Town Hannu led with South African charm and expertise through the organization.

The Swiss Consul General of Cape Town, Mrs. Bernadette Hunkeler Brown turned her greeting words to the audience. She emphasized the economic importance of sustainability concepts, energy efficiency and education in South Africa in her speech. Miss Hunkeler Brown praised George Kuratle and his team for their perseverance in the wooden case in South Africa, and their success with the increasingly growing interest group.

Jiri Oslizlo, AGROP Novatop, CZ, informed in his presentation "The progress and experience of Novatop system in South Africa" on the launch of Novatop and experience in the construction and operation of a model house in South Africa. Components of its Auführungen were also challenges with the local building regulations and the achievement of labels. Specifically, he stressed the accompanying scientific studies that verified the antecedent calculations of temperature fluctuations, humidity over the course of the year.

Alayne Reesberg, CEO World Design Capital, reported in her presentation "Beyond 2014: social impact of Design" on the activities in Cape Town. With examples brought them out of the six daily program "Collaboration, Challenges and Competitions, Conventions and Conferences, Exhibitions and festivals, Enterprise Incubation and workshops and Dialogues". Miss Reesberg pointed to the important realization that design has a prominent role.

Peter Richards, Project Management SA, "The project manager's role in managing modular constructions", the participants completed the project management with its comprehensive importance for the success of a construction detail.

Ben Du Toit, University of Stellenbosch, "Sustainable timber production in South Africa:

What is the environmental footprint?” Gave an overview of global events and inventories of forest and wood. He went deeper on the importance of plantation forests in SA and their ecological footprint, in order to have for future applications wood enough raw material available. He highlighted the water balance, biodiversity, soil erosion and sustainable forest concepts.

Kate Otten Architects, "Designing with wood" wowed the audience with the launch of three projects of her workbooks. Kate's architecture embodies openness, closeness to nature, happy colorfulness and a high degree of creativity. They used natural materials and simple construction principles, but which meet all the requirements of modern, urban design in its entirety.

Benson Wekesa, Agrément SA, "The Need for certification of Innovative Wood Construction Systems" explained the benefits and importance of the label "Agrément South Africa", which will be implemented in addition to the national building codes and regulations. Agrément South Africa, founded in 1969, is the only internationally recognized organization in SA for the assessment and certification of innovative structures, systems, materials, components and processes. The certification process of Novatop is in progress.

Schalk de Jager, City planner of CPT, "Understanding the Cape Town zoning scheme (CTZS)" explained in his presentation the zoning plan, the land use rights with the appropriate controls, the country opening up the rules and Besitztumsrechte. The zoning plan regulates the construction and urban development for the various social requirements and environmental conditions. It also contains provisions relating to the sustainable use of land on water, energy, development and height.

Markus Schietsch, Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH, "Elephant House Zoo Zurich" explained the project to start with comments on earlier zoo buildings, with Notes on the natural habitat of forest elephants and a foray into the art painting. For six years, developed the MSA, the building, which is intended to reflect as much as possible the natural habitat of elephants. The dome with 85m span and their Nurps surface reminiscent in its shape and structure of a turtle shell, and considered one of the nearby elephant skin. The entire roof structure allows the light as in natural forest occur. For the form-finding, the statics and the construction of new routes and technologies had to be applied. The softness of the roof shell due to receive a new facade technology to these deformations.

Alexander Frehse, UC student, "Langa Pavilion" presented together with his whole team, the project of the pavilion in Langa Township. The team, consisting of students from different educational levels, developed the idea of a community pavilion with the local leaders of the township of Langa. The pavilion is designed to protect against sun, wind and rain, people will connect with each other, be a meeting place for parties, concerts and markets. The dome consists of triangles, which are designed by different people with individual colours, technically and artistically. The Langa Pavilion is the first of the WSF (Wood Student Foundation) resulting project.

Simon Baillieu, Nkuni Holdings / Ian Fuller Agencies, "World Wide sourcing capability to help you create" showed its product portfolio as a trading partner of the HWZ International SA. He emphasized the challenge of the availability of the right materials at the right time in order to realize projects.

Philip Crafford, Engineer of Biligom International Pty, Ltd., "The potential of young, wet and finger-jointed Eucalyptus timber for structural use,” explains his master's thesis, in which he described the use of eucalyptus wood in wet and dry on their physical properties, their drying behaviour examines the Verleimbarkeit. Philip also lays down the comparison to the native South African pine.

Roy Southey, The Wood Foundation, "The South African Resource" introduces founded in 2008, Wood Foundation. Supported by the SA Timber Wood Foundation takes over the tasks similar to the Swiss Lignum. It supports and coordinates all marketing activities for forest and wood. It also takes on the task of Wood-monitoring.

Nigel Gwynne-Evans, Chief Director: Trade and Development Sector, "The Role of Provincial Government in Economic Development" opened his brief speech with amazement that he had maybe 50 listeners expected and now stand at over 600 persons. Nigel performed the tasks and organization of provincial policy in economic development.

Lukas Wolf, Pirmin Jung Wood engineers, Switzerland, "Four stars in forty weeks". Luke opened his speech with the development of the construction in Switzerland and stressed that traditions can be continued in a new form and technology very well. He headed over to Hotel City Garden project in train and declared the design, construction and assembly of the multi-storey hotels. The remarkable achievement to create this building in just 40 days, taking into account the requirements of sound insulation, fire protection, assembly / disassembly and interdisciplinary teams procured an impressive testament to the realization of multi-storey wooden buildings.

Councillor Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee member: tourism, events and economic development, "Manufacturing of wood and products of wood." Cllr Bloor explained the woodworking businesses in Cape Town. There are 30,000 people in 190 different businesses working with wood. In Cape Town there are specific support programs for small and middle-sized enterprises.

Thomas Rohner, wood engineer, "Wood Student Foundation WSF". Thomas explained as the first difference of the Wood Foundation, which makes wooden advertising in general and the Wood Student Foundation, founded by George Kuratle which fosters individual students or projects. There are 4 categories of support cost activities: Thesis, Project, Research and Exchange. The management of capital and the review of submissions takes on a jury made up of Swiss and South Africa nationalities.

Question and Answer

At the end of the event presented the participants with the presentation questions which were answered by speakers. A participant praised the conference with the urgent appeal to the political authorities in SA to promote the development of the forest sector. Hannu Garny thanked on behalf of the organizers for the very great interest in the conference and adopted the audience.

VIP Celebration

After the conference a special VIP Dinner was held. George Kuratle invited participants who have attended at least 3 Wood Conferences or more, as a token of appreciation and gratitude for the supporting the event since its inception. The traditional musical accompaniment made the event had a joyful evening.

We would like to thank our partners for assisting us in making these events successful over the last 5 years:


AGROP nova A.S s.r.o

FERMACELL GmbH

Kronospan Switzerland AG

Pavatex SA

HWZ International AG

HWZ International SA (Pty) Ltd

Holzwerkstoff Holding AG