About Jim Taggart FRAIC

Jim received his Master of Arts in Architecture from the University of Sheffield, England in 1980. For 12 years he worked in design and construction in Canada and the UK, including five years with Vancouver’s Expo ’86 World’s Fair, and three years as an Associate with Busby Bridger Architects. Since 1992 his focus has been public and professional education and communications in the areas of architecture, urban design and sustainable development. His most notable area of specialty is the role of wood in contemporary architecture, and he has written many technical case studies and general articles on the subject for national and international publications. Jim has also delivered more than 80 professional development seminars on behalf of the Canadian Wood Council in more than 30 cities across North America. Jim currently teaches history and theory in the architectural science degree program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and is the editor of Sustainable Architecture and Building magazine (SABMag). His other writing and editing credits include: the pocket architectural guides ‘Downtown Victoria’ (2000) and ‘Historic Vancouver’ (2001); the first five editions of the ‘Cedar Book’ (2007 – 2011); ‘Busby: Learning Sustainable Design” (2007) and ‘Symphony of Structure –the work of Fast + Epp’; (2010). Jim is the recipient of numerous awards including a Certificate of Special Recognition from the Architectural Institute of BC for Services to the architectural profession and a provincial Innovation Award for his role in the AI BC’s Architects in Schools Program. He was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 2010.  


Jim Taggart FRAIC Toward a Culture of Wood Architecture’ investigates the increasingly important role that wood is playing in Canada’s search for a sustainable architecture for the 21st Century. The value now being placed on wood, and its re-emergence as a primary building material in contemporary architecture, can be interpreted in a variety of ways: as a means to re-engage with traditional building forms and materials; as a means to reaffirm regional and cultural identity in a globalized context; and as a response to a range of environmental imperatives ‘Toward a Culture of Wood Architecture’ examines the recent and ongoing changes in the practice environment that are creating new opportunities for the use of wood. These changes include the introduction of new materials and manufacturing technologies, the move toward objective based building codes, and the adoption of third party certification of sustainable forestry practices. How these changes are influencing the work of Canadian architects and engineers and supporting the affirmation of Aboriginal identity and the re-emergence of regionalism are illustrated with many examples. However, the most important attribute of wood architecture is its potential contribution to the mitigation of climate change. In 2007, the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that: “a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber fibre from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.” What this book proposes is a strategy of constructive environmentalism, that will maximize the use of wood in buildings, and simultaneously optimize the rate at which the world’s forests sequester carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. With 10% of the world’s forest cover Canada has simultaneously much to gain and much to offer by becoming a world leader, not only in sustainable forest management, but in the creative incorporation of SFM wood into a wide range of durable building materials and structures. It is hoped that this book will inspire Canadian architects and engineers to rekindle the spirit of enterprise and innovation that made them world leaders in the design and execution of wood structures (including railroad trestles, grain elevators and suspension bridges) throughout the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Combined with the lessons of stewardship learned from our aboriginal tradition of wood buildings, this would position us well to address the many environmental, social and economic challenges facing us in the 21st century. Written in an authoritative but accessible style, ‘Toward a Culture of Wood Architecture’ will be invaluable to practitioners and students of architecture, but also to members of the public interested in the relationship between the built environment and climate change.