France Requires All New Public Buildings to Contain 50% Wood
View 2 Photos

France Requires All New Public Buildings to Contain 50% Wood

Add to
By Duncan Nielsen
While the Trump Administration is poised to mandate neoclassical architecture, France is building for a sustainable future.

A new French law is leaving inefficient, carbon-heavy architecture in the dust. Beginning in 2022, the nation will require all buildings it finances to be made with 50% wood, or other other sustainable materials like hemp or straw. Julien Denormandie, the country’s minister for cities and housing, announced the move toward more responsible building practices at a UNESCO event on February 5.

Proposed plans for the 2024 Olympics in Paris will make use of existing buildings, and will set up temporary structures around the capital's landmark attractions. It promises to be the most sustainable yet. 

It’s the latest in a series of green initiatives in France, which is the first country to outline a clear plan to address the worsening climate crisis. President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to make France carbon-neutral by 2050 was voted in last year, and the country plans to put $21 million toward a network of 100 urban farms that will provide communities with access to fresh, local produce. Forests are also being planted around architectural landmarks, adding greenery to public spaces.

France’s Minister for Cities and Housing Julien Demorandie recently announced that all new buildings funded by the government will be built with at least 50% wood, or other sustainable materials.  

Unlike a proposal drafted by the Trump Administration to mandate a specific architectural style for federal buildings, France’s new policy is a democratic effort between elected representatives and the citizens that voted them in. "It cannot work through coercion," says Denormandie. "The goal is to make sustainable cities, but more so democratic, united cities."

France’s commitments to sustainability will be on display when the world stops by for the 2024 Olympics.

Photos by corinabenesch

Related Reading:

Trump Administration Drafts an Executive Order Mandating Neoclassical Architecture

Sweden’s Tallest Timber Building Is a Towering Feat of Sustainable Architecture 

Get the Dwell Newsletter

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.

See a sample