Gallery: C.F. Møller’s Solar-Powered Wood Skyscraper Wins HSB Stockholm...

 
Timber high-rises are a hot topic in the architecture world these days, but will any of them actually be built? That remains to be seen. The latest addition to the burgeoning field comes from Danish design firm C.F. Møller, who just won HSB Stockholm's architectural competition! The firm designed a solar-powered 34-story residential building made mostly of wood with a concrete core and rooftop garden terraces.

One of the first things that comes to mind when someone mentions a wood skyscraper is the risk of fire, but the architects maintain that wood is more fire-safe than other common building materials. “Wood is also more fire resistant than both steel and concrete,” they explain. “This is due to 15% of wood mass being water, which will evaporate before the wood actually burns. In addition, logs get charred which protects the core.” Over at TreeHugger, Lloyd Alter punctures that assertion a bit, suggesting that calling wood more fire resistant that concrete is a stretch.

Architects have taken an interest in building tall buildings from wood because it is a lightweight, renewable material that can bear heavy loads in relation to its weight. In C.F. Møller‘s tower, the pillars and beams will be made from solid wood, and the interior walls, ceilings and window frames will all be made of wood also, making the interiors feel more like a cabin than apartments in a traditional high-rise. Each apartment will also feature a glass-covered veranda. And the roof of the building, which is cut away in a diamond shape, will be covered in solar panels.

+ C.F. Møller

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2 Comments

  1. Terry Carlin January 7, 2014 at 6:22 am

    When we watch forests go up in smoke as a forest fire rages, an assertion that wood used in an architectural structure is more fire-resistant than concrete and steel just doesn’t ‘hold water’…

  2. MELISSA STERRY January 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    It’s acutely apparent that the entrants that created this ‘winning entry’ have no knowledge of dendrology, yet didn’t bother to consult experts in the field. It’s equally apparent they have no understanding of ecology, because if they did, they wouldn’t stick trees on the top of a skyscraper. However, the most critical – indeed damning fault with this architectural proposal is the fact it shows no understanding whatsoever of wind engineering – nor basic, elementary level physics. Consequently, the positioning of the trees is not only utterly impractical, both from an ecological, and from a maintenance perspective, but could also pose a serious threat to human life – in layman’s terms, the wind speeds at that height are higher, therein in a storm scenario the trees would be likely to blown off and fall to the ground, crushing anything and anyone below – not least because the root system ought be at least a 1/3 of the overall height of the tree in order that a tree’s stability is maintained, which is clearly not accounted for in this design. The fact this entry, reached the final selection – let alone won the competition raises questions about the architecture competition’s validity as a benchmark of excellence.

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