At a time when the climate emergency is tolling the death knell for single-use buildings, the National Committee for the Development of Wood (CNDB) has chosen to highlight ephemeral wooden structures. Lightweight, ecological, modular and removable, the wood material offers aesthetic and functional solutions for any type of event or temporary urban intervention. 

Wood, modular and reversible

Lightweight, easy to assemble and dismantle, wooden structures allow rapid implementation on the site, and great adaptability to different project configurations.

Prefabrication in the workshop saves time and space on the site. This reduction in various nuisances in the public space is particularly appreciated by the project managers, to meet the logistical constraints of the assembly of temporary structures.

Timber construction allows a certain scalability of the building, particularly suitable for a temporary project. Thanks to the simplicity of the assemblies, and their removable nature, it is possible to enlarge or reduce the spaces throughout the life of the building, as required. 

Likewise, at the end of the project, wooden constructions have the advantage of being easily dismantled, allowing the direct reuse of materials or recycling.

The lightness of the ephemeral wooden buildings makes it possible to preserve the intervention sites, by reducing the artificialization of the soil and by lightening the foundations. 

Wood, a plural aesthetic

The different uses of wood in the building, with its many species, allow a plural aesthetic of this material. The wooden frame can receive all types of facings as well as various insulation materials, particularly bio-based. Structurally, wood materials allow great freedom of form and volume, and highly technical architectural systems.

Wood, a material of the future

Wood, the most widely used biobased material in construction, has environmental virtues recognized on various levels. Wood is a renewable material, and its use helps to reduce the depletion of natural resources in construction, as the cutting is compensated by the planting of new trees.

In addition, wood is well known as a material that temporarily stores a large amount of carbon. Little energy is required for its manufacture, and it is reusable and recoverable at the end of its life. The energy, thermal, acoustic and structural performance of wood are also recognized and make it an attractive and competitive material for temporary construction.

Emblematic projects

A fine example of a temporary wooden structure, the Grand Palais Éphémère opened its doors in May 2021, and for a period of 4 years, during the renovation of the Grand Palais. This 10m000 structure installed on the Champ-de-Mars, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, can accommodate a large audience in a high-performance and comfortable building. The wood used for the structure of the Grand Palais Éphémère is PEFC labeled, that is to say from a sustainably managed forest.

On a smaller scale, the Palais de la Découverte Éphémère in the 15th arrondissement, designed by the Construire agency and produced by Charpente Cénomane, for Universcience, is exemplary in minimizing the impact of the building on its environment. The constructions are placed on metal distribution plates which can be removed during dismantling without altering the existing floor. The prefabrication of the structural modules in the factory allows efficient assembly on site, and construction techniques guarantee ease of assembly, disassembly and re-use.

Agenda: to discover soon!

The Grand Palais Éphémère will host the International Wood Construction Forum 2021, from July 15 to 17. The choice of this building turns out to be perfectly in line with the themes of the forum, in particular on climate issues in the construction sector.

The CNDB will find you in the Forêt-Bois space, a 185m2 space dedicated to ephemeral wooden works (scenography: Anne-Sophie Acomat - DAAO Studio / structures: Simon Hulin - EKILAYA) and furniture from reuse. Space FED02 185.


1) Framework of the Grand Palais Éphémère © Patrick Tourneboeuf
2) View of the Ephemeral Discovery Palace © Construire
3) 3D view of the forest-wood area © CNDB

To learn more, visit Site and CNDB networks.


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