*This is a republished and updated article from 2020.
In recent years, a new trend in high-rise construction has emerged – the development of skyscrapers constructed largely of wood products (can also referred to as mass timber, cross-laminate timber, and/or engineered-wood).
Use of these natural materials have the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint (15-20% lower than steel), lighter weight (approximately 1/5 that of concrete), quicker construction times (25% faster), prefabrication, and being a renewable resource.
The list below identifies those skyscrapers (completed or under construction) which are primarily built of timber and are =/+ 100 feet in height.
- Ascent (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 2022) = 284 feet/25 stories
2. Mjøstårnet Tower (Brumunddal, Norway: 2019) = 280 feet/18 stories
3. HoHo Tower (Vienna, Austria: 2020) = 276 feet/24 stories
4. Terrace House (Vancouver, British Columbia: project halted amid construction) = 232 feet/19 stories
5. Sara Cultural Centre (Skellefteå, Sweden: 2021) = 226 feet/20 stories
6. 1510 Webster Street (Oakland, California: under construction) 187 feet/18 stories (a second matching tower is proposed next door)
1510 Webster – Source: sfyimby.com
7. Brock Commons Tallwood House (Vancouver, British Columbia: 2017) 174 feet/18 stories (hybrid timber tower with a steel and concrete core)
8. Treet (Bergen, Norway: 2015) = 173 feet/14 stories
9. Origine (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: 2017) = 134 feet/13 stories
10-tie. Proud Kanda Surugadai (Tokyo, Japan: 2021) = 157 feet/14 stories
10-tie. Light House (Joensuu, Finland: 2019) = 157 feet/14 stories
12. Sensation (Strasbourg, France: 2019) = 125 feet/11 stories
13. INTRO (Cleveland, OH, USA: 2022) = 115 feet/11 stories
INTRO- Source: freshwatercleveland.com/features/INTROwood100320.aspx
14. SKAIO (Heilbronn, Germany: 2019) = 112 feet/10 stories
15. Forte (Melbourne, Australia: 2012) = 105 feet/10 stories
A number of other timber high-rises have been proposed worldwide, including a 12 story one in Denver which is expected to begin construction in 2023 and a nine-story, 119 foot tall residential tower in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago that will be named 2100 Southport. But, because projects are often proposed without actually being built, the list above only includes those that have been completed or are underway.
One may wonder about possible dangers of tall buildings constructed of wood, particularly fire. In some instances this has been addressed by constructing a concrete and/or steel core surrounded by mass timber or cross-laminated timber construction. Secondly, studies have shown that charred mass timber/cross-laminate timber remains very strong. In fact,
“The unburnt wood, protected by the charred wood, retains up to 100 percent of its initial strength.”
Source: Fire Performance, reThink Wood
Furthermore, studies show:
“During a fire resistance test of a 5-ply cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel wall, the panel was subjected to temperatures exceeding 1,800 Fahrenheit and lasted 3 hours and 6 minutes, far more than the two-hour rating that building codes require.”
As more information has become available, building codes across the country are being updated/modified to allow taller mass timber structures than were previously permitted.
Links to addition information on proposed timber towers that are not included above: