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When I began studying architecture in the 1980s, students would often get asked at crits what, exactly, those blank white or beige walls indicated on their drawings or models were intended to be made of. The answer, almost inevitably, was “concrete.” Concrete was the wonder material, the realizer of dreams. The reliable, universal one-word answer. The staff would, inevitably, roll their eyes. But that reliance on a blank material rendered as an abstract surface has been threaded through the history of the last century of so of architecture. In the beginning, even architects themselves could only dream of abstract planes of concrete. Le Corbusier, Rietveld, and the others built walls of brick, rendering them so they would appear as concrete—smooth, featureless, as if drawn rather than built. They made concrete through manifestation. A century on, with the world more aware of impending climate crisis, that one-word answer of “concrete” might be dumber and even less acceptable than it was then. The response now, however, might well be “CLT.” Even more than concrete, big panels of cross-laminated timber, cut in a spotless factory by robots, far away from the mud, sweat, and swearing of the construction site, looks like the future. Prefabricated, clean, as much drawing as material, rendering as reality, it represents the new wonder material of our eco-aware, guilt-burdened age; the world-saving, carbon-soaking, multifunctional stuff sent to salve our consciences in the creating of new buildings we know to be wrong, in attempting to make architecture at all.