Could it be that wood will be the material of choice for future skyscrapers? The case is indeed being made for Hardwood Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). To date however, softwood is the accepted CLT material in “tall” construction.
In Oregon in mid-2017, the city of Portland “issued building permits for the Framework Project, a 12-story (148 foot) building constructed mainly of sustainably harvested engineered lumber. To get the permits, developers had to submit designs that passed rigorous fire, seismic and other safety tests to prove its durability was comparable to typical steel-and-concrete construction. Scheduled for completion in early 2019, Framework will house 60 affordable apartments along with a mix of retail and office space.” (The Wall Street Journal)
And in Toronto, the proposed Tree Tower Project, slated to be 18 stories tall, would include 4,500 square meters (48,437 sq ft) of residential area, along with 550 square meters (5,920.15 sq ft) of public space for a cafe, a children's daycare center, and community workshops.
Designed by interdisciplinary firm Penda, of Austria and Beijing, the Tower is being developed by Canadian company, TMBER. “TMBER actively designs branded cross-laminated timber panels (CLT) in distinctive architectural sequences to enable diverse and dynamic housing solutions that are available on-demand, so resources and costs are conserved. TMBER creates buildings that intermingle with nature to demonstrate a good life in great communities can be built by a carbon zero process.”
The Good News is this: More and more builders are favoring the savings and the environmental benefits that only wood can provide. In cities around the world - Amsterdam, London, Melbourne, Portland, Toronto and Vienna - “one of the newest materials” in modern construction is originating from a bygone source, trees!