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A compelling case for wood to build high-rises from

14453 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  isaidso
In this meaty report (<-- rather big PDF-file) architect Michael Green makes a compelling case for use as a construction material for buildings up to about 30 stories high.

An excerpt from (<-- direct link to the article):

The report sets out a blueprint for the design of wooden structures up to 30 stories high, capable of performing in "high seismic areas" like his native Vancouver. Unusually for the construction industry, he's shared the report under a Creative Commons license. Ars looked into the report in detail, and spoke to Arup structural consultant and wooden buildings advocate Hans-Erik Blomgren for another perspective.
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Why should highrise buildings be constructed out of wood? Usually, they're constructed from concrete or steel, but wood?
Chinese pagodas were made of wood to survive major earthquakes, many of them for thousands of years. I think there's only one or two that have ever been reported collapsing due to a tremor, in millennia.

The central pillar enables much of the weight to rest upon it, and is very flexible. It is a precursor to modern skyscraper design, where the central core of a tower provides the support.

The problem with wood buildings though is that over time they succumb to fire (which is how most pagodas bite the dust after a century or three), but modern treatment and fireproofing should ensure better safety with this regards.
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Can wood withstand the modern demands of weight, though? Like all climate control materials, all stuff the average building gets over its floors? CAn it isolate noise?
Bad Idea, it could fall apart much easier and collapse
Glu-lam beams are bloody strong. Buildings are often over-engineered because there isn't considered an alternative. Engineered wood is just as strong as reinforced concrete in smaller buildings. The better the engineering, the taller the structure can become.

I can see this catching on - people tend to prefer wooden buildings, especially commercial or public buildings.
bamboo is stronger than steel btw, and much more flexible. Also very eco friendly - the fastest growing plant, up to 6ft a day.

it's still the material of choice for scaffolding in East Asia. At first it's too flexible, but after the 3rd floor it becomes strong and very rigid

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The Stadthaus tower in London is quite an interesting example of a timbertower.

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There was a 20fl/80m high wood highrise planned in Kirkenes in Northern Norway.

... But I don't think they got it approved.

Tread here:
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What about fireproofing? What if the kitchen stove blows?
Another planned Norwegian wood highrise in Bergen. I got the impression that's approved according to its tread:

14 floors/48 meters high.

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Actually, I take that back. Something like this would work well

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I don't think making skyscrapers outta wood is a good idea. Forests already have a hard time surviving. I think wood should be used only when it is truly needed like for furniture and similar uses cause by far the most important use of wood is the generation of breathable air :cheers:
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This would never do well in the South of the US in that the termites and other bugs are really out of control and the moister all over the place would rip this thing down in less than ten years. Also wood burns really good in fact I think would should be banned from several suburbs in that even the new houses give the firedepartments a lot of mess to deal with.
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Latest projects bringing high-rise wood application from concept to reality include:

- Timber Tower Research Project, by SOM

- Brock Commons, 18-storey student residence in University of British Columbia, by Acton Ostry Architects

- 475 West 18th, 10-storey by ShoP Architecture,

- Framework, 12-storey cross-laminated timber residential building in Portland, Oregon, by Lever Architects

- Hoho Wien, 25-storey hotel in Vienna by Rüdiger Lainer + Partner.
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The Paris area has proposed a mass-timber highrise building with 35 floors named "Baobab". It is probably the tallest one proposed anywhere in the world.

According to its architect, Michael Green Architecture (MGA), the wood products used in the "Baobab" building would store an estimated 3,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Source: "Tall Timber: A Global Audit", a research study by CTBUH.
Doesn't anyone remember the Great Chicago Fire?
This is from April 30th but still noteworthy.

Ontario announces new investments in mass timber building technology

The Province of Ontario is investing in research, education and construction of tall wood buildings so more wood products can be used in new homes and taller buildings through the new Mass Timber Program. This program is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s carbon market.

Tall wood demonstration projects include:

George Brown College’s Arbour development: planned to be a 12-storey building that will be the most carbon friendly building in Canada, constructed almost entirely of mass timber. It will house the college’s School of Computer Technology and act as a living laboratory for students of tall wood construction.

The University of Toronto’s Academic Tower: planned to be the tallest mass timber and concrete hybrid building in North America, this 14-storey building will act as a living laboratory for students learning skills in mass timber construction.

The Green Vision Waterfront Development: planned to be a residential condominium complex consisting of three, 12-storey buildings on the shores of Lake Nipissing in downtown North Bay. The first floor of these buildings, and their adjoining parking garages, will be constructed with concrete, and the remaining 11 storeys with wooden panels. These buildings will be used as living laboratories for students, and will contribute to the sustainability highlighted in North Bay’s Downtown Waterfront Master Plan.

The 57 Wade Avenue development: planned to be an eight-storey office building in Toronto. This building’s construction will incorporate timber beams and an innovative floor assembly that will result in exposed wooden ceilings to the office space below.
The Arbour, George Brown College, Toronto

Courtesy of lightarchitect

Courtesy of M&T
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