Tall and Treated – Building it Big with Timber

tall wooden building

People have been using wood to build their homes for more than 10,000 years. Timber is such an enduringly popular building material due to its availability and the fact that it’s more economical than many modern alternatives. The use of timber is also proven to reduce carbon emissions, making it the environmentally friendly choice.

In recent years, there has been a wooden renaissance, with the popularity of timber as a building material soaring once again. Here, we take a look at some of the world’s most innovative timber buildings, including the world’s tallest and largest timber office tower that’s currently under construction in Brisbane.

Vancouver’s Brock Commons

Brock Commons
Photograph by KK Law

Dubbed the ‘plyscraper’, the Brock Commons Tallwood House, a student residence building at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is officially the tallest timber structure in the world. Stretching to a height of 173ft, the building provides accommodation for 404 students and comprises of one-bedroom and studio units, study spaces and even a student lounge on the top floor.

Most astounding of all is the fact that this vertiginous timber structure was completed in just 70 days. That’s owing to the meticulous planning and efficient construction and design processes, as well as prefabricated components being delivered ready for assembly. The result is a building that was completed in a fraction of the time of a comparable concrete building.

Brisbane’s 25 King project

Brisbane 25 King Project
Photograph by Bates Smart

Strong, clean and versatile, it’s hardly surprising that wood is currently at the top of the tree for many architects. Nowhere is this more obvious than the ambitious 25 King project, which is currently underway in Brisbane and expected to be completed later this year.

The 145ft, ten-storey tower is being built using cross-laminated timber – layers of wood that have been glued together under pressure to give it a strength comparable to that of traditional concrete and steel. Despite being incredibly strong, the timber is lightweight, quicker to assemble and much more environmentally sustainable than other materials, having a lower carbon footprint and producing zero waste.

There are often concerns associated with wooden structures, not least flammability and vulnerability to insects. However, the materials being used for 25 King have been extensively tested for fire risk – although the building’s exterior will be charred during an intense fire, its structural integrity will remain intact. There’s also a concrete podium to separate the tower from the ground and provide protection against termites.

Tokyo’s W350 tower

Brisbane 25 King Project
Photograph sourced from Dezeen

The W350 tower in Tokyo is set to become the world’s tallest wooden building when it is completed in 2041. The 1,148ft-tall skyscraper, which is being built to mark the 350th anniversary of Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry, will cost an estimated £4.3bn. Although the 70-storey tower will be built using 90% wooden materials, it will feature a steel vibration control framework to help protect it from the earthquakes that are not uncommon in the city.

The building is the latest success story in the Japanese government’s drive to encourage more developers to use timber. Their aim is to create environmentally friendly cities where the city itself becomes a forest due to the abundance of wooden architecture.

Looking for world-class timber for your next project?

At Thorogood, we supply an exceptional range and quality of timber to elevate even the most ambitious and project to the next level. Browse our selection of sawn, milled and beam timber and and get in touch to discuss your requirements today.

Blog | 5 years AGO