On a recent trip to the U.A.E. I found out that New York University is opening a new campus in Abu Dhabi this year. Frank Miller Lumber has quoted some quartersawn walnut and cherry that may be used in some of the flooring there. When this caught my attention I did a bit of research and found that NYU also has a campus in Shanghai with another planned for Sydney, Australia in the near future. A trend is starting and I think it opens the door to the use of American hardwoods and specifically quartersawn hardwoods in these facilities. I was in Sydney in April speaking with architects and designers about using American hardwoods and I had a call from a large joinery firm in Singapore. They are working on the “tender” (quote) for the interior joinery for the new Yale NUS College in Singapore. The architects, Pelli Clark Pelli from New Haven, CT have designed the space to include Oak and Cherry, along with Teak and other indigenous species of hardwoods.
I was asked to attend a meeting about the project the next week and flew to Singapore to look at the project. My first inclination was to tout the benefits of moving the hardwood specification from just “Oak” to “quartersawn white oak” for the joinery. The reason for that is twofold. One, most of the buildings at Yale in New Haven contain copious amounts of beautiful, stable quartersawn white oak and in some cases that white oak has been in place for centuries (Yale was established in 1701). Two, in the Singapore environment, which is quite humid, quartersawn white oak would perform extremely well. As the campus is due to open in the fall, it may be too late to change the specification to quartersawn white oak, but I consider it heartening to be invited into the conversation as a representative of the industry.
It would be very exciting to see quartersawn hardwoods in the floors for NYU Abu Dhabi, demonstrating the beauty and stability of the finest hardwood produced in the United States. I have heard rumor of the U.A.E. courting another prestigious American University to build a campus there and I hope to be included in the discussions about the joinery and flooring for that project. I am precluded from mentioning the University in question, but it would be a very exciting project.
The work of gaining a seat at the table for these discussions has been arduous and lengthy. I am proud to represent the American hardwood industry as a whole in these discussions and more specifically a company that recognizes the importance of marketing to architects and designers worldwide.