There are many reasons why timber is being advocated as a structural material for tall buildings. Unlike concrete and steel, it is a renewable resource.
Other potential benefits include improved construction timelines, reduced costs, better fire resistance, and a reduction in overall building weight.
Proposals are currently being developed to create a one million square foot mixed-use tower in central London. It would contain over 1,000 new flats and be integrated within the Barbican. PLP Architecture and engineering firm Smith and Wallwork are working with Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture to develop the design for Oakwood Timber Tower, which is the first in a planned series of wood skyscrapers. PLP is presently working on additional proposals for a 31-storey timber skyscraper in Western Europe.
Another timber high-rise in the works is a 70-storey tower in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district. Known as the W350, it is scheduled to be finished in 2041. The builder, Sumitomo Forestry, is replacing concrete with a 9 to 1 ratio of timber to steel in the mixed-use structure, which will contain residences, commercial space, office space, and a hotel. Greenery will be planted throughout the complex, creating a virtual forest, and wrap-around balconies will be filled with lush wildlife. To prevent the building from being warped by wind, earthquakes, and other lateral forces, braces will be placed diagonally in shafts compiled from beams and columns.