The world’s tallest wooden building, the Mjøstårnet in Norway, could be the beginning of a future where wooden skyscrapers become the norm. Made from glued laminated timber (GLT) panels, it uses engineered wood products, such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), glulam and laminated veneer lumber (LVL), to reach its 85-meter height. Wooden buildings are more environmentally friendly, as wood is a renewable resource, and has benefits of strength, safety and insulation, as well as aesthetics. However, regulations have not yet caught up with the technology used in constructing wooden skyscrapers, which also currently cost more to build than traditional structures.
Wooden Skyscraper Set to Revolutionize Urban Architecture
When we think of skyscrapers, we often imagine towering structures made of reinforced concrete and steel. But a new construction material is starting to gain ground in the world of architecture. Wood.
The Mjøstårnet in Norway is the world’s tallest wooden building, standing at 85 meters tall. Constructed from glued laminated timber (GLT) panels, the building has 18 floors and houses offices, apartments, and a hotel. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and design, but it’s just the beginning—wooden skyscrapers are set to revolutionize urban architecture.
What are wooden skyscrapers?
Wooden skyscrapers are tall buildings that are primarily made of wood. Often, these buildings will use engineered wood products, such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), glulam and laminated veneer lumber (LVL), to achieve the required strength and durability to reach such heights.
What are the benefits of wooden skyscrapers?
There are many potential benefits to constructing skyscrapers out of wood:
- Sustainability: Wood is a renewable material that is much more environmentally friendly than concrete and steel.
- Strength: Modern engineered wood materials, such as CLT, are incredibly strong and can support heavy loads.
- Safety: In the case of fire, wood actually performs better than steel and concrete. It chars on the surface, protecting the inner layers from heat and retaining strength.
- Thermal performance: Wood provides excellent insulation and can help to reduce energy consumption in buildings.
- Aesthetics: Many architects are drawn to the natural beauty of wood and its warm, welcoming feel.
What are the challenges of building wooden skyscrapers?
While there are many potential benefits to wooden skyscrapers, there are also some challenges that must be addressed:
- Cost: Currently, wooden buildings are more expensive to construct than traditional concrete and steel buildings.
- Regulation: In many countries, building codes and regulations have not yet caught up with the technology and engineering advances associated with wooden skyscrapers.
- Moisture and insect damage: While modern pressure-treated wood is resistant to moisture and insects, there is still a risk of damage to wooden structures over time.
What is the future of wooden skyscrapers?
The Mjøstårnet in Norway, and other projects around the world, are proving that wooden skyscrapers are not just a novelty, they’re a viable option for urban architecture. As building regulations catch up and the cost of construction comes down, we’re likely to see more and more wooden skyscrapers in our cities.
With the benefits of sustainability, strength, safety, thermal performance, and aesthetics, wooden buildings have the potential to revolutionize urban architecture and create a more sustainable, beautiful, and livable future.
Are wooden buildings safe?
Yes, wooden buildings are safe. In fact, in the case of fire, wood performs better than steel and concrete. It chars on the surface, protecting the inner layers from heat and retaining strength.
Is wood a sustainable building material?
Yes, wood is a sustainable building material. It is a renewable resource that is much more environmentally friendly than traditional building materials like concrete and steel.
Are wooden buildings more expensive to construct?
Currently, wooden buildings are more expensive to construct than traditional concrete and steel buildings. However, as technology advances and building regulations change, the cost of construction is likely to come down.
Do building codes allow for wooden skyscrapers?
In many countries, building codes and regulations have not yet caught up with the technology and engineering advances associated with wooden skyscrapers. However, this is starting to change as wooden skyscrapers become more popular and their benefits become more widely recognized.
What are the benefits of wooden skyscrapers?
Wooden skyscrapers offer many benefits, including sustainability, strength, safety, thermal performance, and aesthetics.
What are the challenges associated with building wooden skyscrapers?
The challenges associated with building wooden skyscrapers include cost, regulation, and the risk of moisture and insect damage.