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The contribution of the Centro de Innovación en Madera (Wood Innovation Center) in six years of career.

Since its creation in 2002 until the conformation of the board of directors in 2014, CIM UC has gone through a long, arduous road in the wood construction’s sector. It’s been six years promoting its role as a crucial agent of changes towards a more sustainable country and region.

During its development one of its biggest interests has been delivering answers to the enormous challenge related to the worldwide housing deficiency and also, significantly, giving an alternative in the face of the climate change caused by global warming, in which the building market competes as one of the biggest pollutants. These factors have led to observe the potential of wood, the second most produced material at the national level since 2017.

To carry this work agenda and accomplish its main interests, the professionals who form CIM UC have been organized based on three pillars: applied research development, laboratory experimentation, and  technology transfer. This synergy has allowed to strengthen the bonds and joint agreements between the different collaborating organizations like the academy, industry and the government, being able to build solid pillars of growth towards the future.

 The investigation and development of the Center have a distinctive signature given by its interdisciplinary approach and its service vocation that have motivated the search of new solutions for the market, some of them oriented to the adaptation of public politics related to wood, for example, the implementation of seismic regulations, design regulations, fire and acoustic regulations, etc.


Tripartite Collaboration

 It’s known that, from the very beginning, UC Center of Wood Innovation has developed a tripartite relationship between industry, academy and the government, forming an alliance of constant dialogue, work and agreement. The objective of this alliance is to make ties that facilitate the exchange <<win-win<< between each other.

 The benefits of the collaboration are evident:

  1. Make all of the stakeholders participants of the decision making of the center.
  2. Exchange of knowledge.
  3. Promote collaborative work spaces and insert the new generations on highly competitive internships.
  4. Share equipment, laboratories and new technologies for a deeper and complete development.

Centro UC de Innovación (UC Center of innovation), which contains CIM, says in an article about pre competitive innovation that “the main businesses of the forestry sector have joined forces to develop new usages for a material with highly strategic importance for Chile, which is made through the collective funding of investigations, pilot projects, and work to update the regulations that limits the constructive potencial based on a material of the future, for its big economical, social, and environmental potencial”.

UC Innovation Center: «Innovación pre competitiva: Una asignatura pendiente». June 9, 2017.

In words of Dr. Pablo Guindos, Academic Director of CIM UC: “International experience proves that public-private collaboration is fundamental for the development of countries. Someone can see that in the nordic countries, England, Canada or Australia. In all of them, enterprises and the state sit together to resolve problems, generating bridges that can improve the trust and allows to resolve the disagreements that can exist. On the other side, Chile is one of the countries with lower investment on R+D of the OECD, reason why having a university developing worldwide level investigation is of great importance. In this sense, the commitment of faculties and schools with CIM UC has been fundamental to its growth and success”.


Continuing Education

Another objective of the UC Center of Wood Innovation is to transfer the obtained knowledge about wood building benefits. For this to happen, the center works in generating specialized training, workshops, webinars, courses that impacts the development of projects, certification courses, etc. Just like this, it counts with the support of different faculties which guarantee their multiple disciplines, that develops in a project of continuing education.

In addition to this, it seeks to congregate the work of prominent academics, whose investigation lines strengthen the tasks of the Center in terms of new knowledge’s generation, and contribute to the search for new investigation projects, promoting collaborative and interdisciplinary work.

Right now, CIM UC accounts with:

  • 10 associated professors from the architecture school
  • 7 associated professors from the engineering school
  • 2 associated professors from the agriculture school.

In november 2020, one of the most complete courses related to wood will be launched for the first time, a course that will congregate the best experts in the material: “introduction to the design, calculation and wood construction”.

This course will be led and imparted by the Academic Director Pablo Guindos, who is also the author of the trilogy “Foundation of the design and construction with wood”.

This is an introductory course that allows to initiate the students in the design, calculation and modern construction with wood. It prioritizes the use of the latest technologies and the international state of art for the design and construction of buildings and other complex constructions. Topics related to modern engineering products like CLT, LVL and LSL will also be taught, its building systems and normative aspects, both national and international. The course will add contents about CAD/CAM design with BIM principles (Building Information Modeling) for Mass Timber, just as structural calculation software with practical examples.

With this, it looks for delivering basic tools that allow it to consider wood design as a valid option to compete against traditional concrete and steel designs.


A new challenge for wood construction in 2025

Chile has recently started an incipient path towards new wood technologies, impulsing wood system innovations for its future applications. Wood construction, if compared to other forestry specialized countries, is substantially smaller in our country (15% of wood building, in comparison to countries like Canada, where almost 90% of its buildings are made of this material), there is a change of paradigm in the public-private world that searches for new technologies to be in the agenda in the upcoming years.

On one side, the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism (Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo, MINVU) has put its focus on wood building, showing support and conducting governmental initiatives, also from the private sector to open ways, above everything, in sustainability terms.

About the tripartite, with the development of the WCTE 2020, World Conference of Timber Engineering, organized by the Center, the intention is to spread new knowledge, speak about the appropriate politics to carry thought a green agenda, both for the country and for the Latin American region, and impact young professionals so they get to know, see and improve their investigations and projects with wood, so they can reach a local impact in the sustainable wood building industry.

With all these actions, commitments and new improvements, the Center has made tremendous labor in contributing to sustainability, productivity and climate change, allowing Chile to be a referent in the construction sector, just as other countries are right now.

Facing 2025, the UC Center of Wood Innovation has proposed to make the first 15 storeys tall wood building, a tower that will have, in the upcoming years, teams of investigation and transference working on R+D. This tower will be considered as the biggest wood building in Latin America.

Nevertheless, making this project is a task that cannot be done just by a single organization, and because of it, is needed to think in a way to involve more actors, both national and international, to face the labor of designing the building of the future.

“As far as we collaborate with a diversity of actors, we will be able to lead these projects and generate a true change in our country”.

“ (…) This triangle requires strengthening our network to improve the bonds that exist between the different actors. Today the discussion that exists around innovation considers the insertion in an ecosystem, in a network of organizations that can collaborate between each other. Because of it, we must think with the same logic, about how to improve this ecosystem around wood construction. This net must incorporate the existing enterprises and the political world, but we also must open ourselves to other businesses that still are far from the topic. Additionally, we must increase our links with other countries. Chile has the potential to be a relevant actor worldwide”, says Cristian Vial, Executive Director of CIM UC.


Innovation is focused in the altitude

The densification of sustainable and efficient cities is a reality and an imminent challenge in which CIM UC looks to be part of its advances and innovation for the industry, integrating new technologies of digitalization as BIM with the project Diseña Madera (Design Timber), the development of eco sustainable neighbourhoods and market places along Chile, 168 structurally tested and validated constructive solutions built with MINVU; incorporating new seismic regulations to the system, proved and tested by the professionals. With this, the boost of industrialization, that will optimize processes both in construction and assembly, applying knowledge, technologies and innovation to a new and modern constructive system.

The attention must and will be in sustainability and efficiency. Therefore CIM UC proposes wood as the most sustainable alternative to build tall constructions because of its low carbon footprint, its constructive efficiency, low waste; and great structural, thermal, seismic, insulating and comfort giving behavior, through its multiple constructive solutions, focused in energetic efficiency that a young and multidisciplinary team search to develop, enhancing the social, economical and environmental ideas in our country.

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As co-organizers of the World Conference on Timber Engineering 2020, Madera21 will be hosting the Wood Week 2020 completely online for its first time! 

The Wood Week is a meeting point for all the timber community, whether you are an architect, designer, engineer, entrepreneur or a company, this is the place where you will be able to learn about creation and innovation of wood in all its expressions. 

Furthermore, the UC Timber Center, also a co-organizer of the WCTE 2020, has hold a seminar on “The Challenges of a 15-Story Wood Construction, International and National Experiences”, with experts from all over the world presenting on diverse and important projects, such as the Mjøstårnet building in Norway, and the Brock Commons Tallwood House in Canada.

You are still on time to be part of this event! All the presentations will be available until the end of the Wood Week, this Saturday 5th of September, 2020. For more information, visit