Timber Perception Lab
Accelerating Change at MIND

Given Europe’s 2050 carbon neutrality target, we urgently need to replace traditional construction methods with systems using low-carbon materials, such as timber. Wood buildings are cost-efficient, healthy, and comfortable.

Although various timber buildings have been built globally but the industry is still in its infancy. There are still many challenges to overcome in order to improve the uptake of mass timber in the construction industry. This initiative aims to improve the perception of mass timber in the Milanese, Italian and EU context through collective learning and a strategic communication strategy involving key stakeholder groups, the so-called ‘Big Six’: developers, investors, cities, designers, insurers, and assets owners.


Sustainability is at the heart of MIND - Milan Innovation District. With its one million square metres to rethink, MIND is the ultimate opportunity in Italy for an ambitious regeneration project designed to meet the ecological and social challenges of our time.

Throughout the streets of the district, architecture, technology and nature come together in an evolved environment with a high quality of life: a sustainable space that revolves around people and social relations and encourages involvement, inclusion and responsible growth.

The ‘Perceptions of Timber’ initiative will use an existing physical prototype of a multistorey mass timber structure, the MIND Prototype, as the basis of engagement for a wide network of stakeholders. Workshops and other collaborative activities will be conducted ro engage with the industry. The Timber Perception Lab to aims to promote collaboration and the sharing of knowledge in order to overcome the barriers faced by mass timber construction.

Best Practices

The ‘call for best practice’ outlines a selection of case study projects which feature innovative timber buildings selected for their quality in design and construction.

Why Build in Timber?

The construction industry accounts for approximately 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Half of all new buildings emissions between now and 2050 will result from their embodied carbon, mainly in the materials used in construction. To develop our cities in a more sustainable manner, we will need to decarbonise concrete and steel and use more regenerative and renewable resources such as timber, as a key mitigation strategy to climate change in the construction sector. However, this requires an accelerated transformation of the paradigms governing the development, design, construction, operation, and end of life of buildings, especially for those countries, like Italy, where wood is not traditionally used.

Italy is being progressive and actively looking at measures to reduce carbon. The City of Milan, as vice chair of C40, is helping to lead the way and committing to zero carbon targets to reduce embodied carbon emissions from the construction industry.

The Timber Perception Lab presents an opportunity to overcome the barriers related to limited knowledge and experience, as well as cultural acceptance, by involving stakeholders across the timber value chain. Evidence-based learning will be used to demonstrate timber’s social and economic feasibility in the Milanese context.


In order to improve the perception of timber construction in the Italian context, we have organized a series of workshops to establish challenges and propose methods to overcome them.


In the first workshop, stakeholders prepared a list key barriers which are limiting the uptake of structural timber in the Italian context. The initiave seeks to overcome these barriers.

Living Lab

Living Labs are defined as user-centred, open innovation ecosystems, integrating research and innovation processes in real life communities and settings.


waugh thistleton architects