Andrew Michler

Michael Green Unveils 'Tall Wood' Tower for Vancouver Along With Instruction Manual for Building Wooden Skyscrapers

by , 03/20/12

MGA, wood tower, woodscraper, wood high-rise, wood mid-rise, green tower, green highrise, eco highrise, Vacouver green building

A wooden skyscraper may seem like far-fetched idea to those who live in cities built from concrete and steel, but architect Michael Green has developed an innovative wooden tower for Vancouver that could spark a renaissance in using wood to build urban high-rise projects. If realized, Green’s Tallwood tower could be one of the greenest skyscrapers in the world – and at 30 stories, perhaps the tallest of its kind. Best of all, Green has documented his research and design specifications and generously published the results in an open source paper – a kind of instruction manual for building really tall wood buildings.

MGA, wood tower, woodscraper, wood high rise, wood mid-rise, green tower, green highrise, eco highrise, Vacouver green builsing,

The Tall Wood project is part of a small but distinguished group of ‘woodscrapers’ proposed for everywhere from Norway and Austria all the way to Australia. Green’s vision was inspired by the sheer amount of energy required to create the materials for a common building – most of which must be sourced long distances. Canadian forests, if well managed (a big if), can produce an abundance of raw carbon squestering materials to build our cities. While Green’s proposal is for a 30 story tower, he thinks that taller buildings could result from more research.

The primary structure of the Tall Wood building is made from Laminated Strand Lumber beams instead of steel. The beams are made from strips of smaller wood fibers that are glued and set under pressure – the process is similar to how common oriented strand board sheets are made. The wooden tower may seem like a fire hazard, but in reality it is actually safer than steel. When exposed to fire, large timbers develop a charred exterior that insulates the structural wood underneath. In fact, the weakest point in a fire is the steel connection from the beams to the supporting posts.

Green’s Tall Wood paper is a boon for those who are ready to dive into designing wood towers, and it gives not only the principle of design but also code restraints and other complex dynamics. If the concept takes hold, we could see the construction of cities that actually sequester carbon instead of acting like the CO2 pumps they are today.

+ Michael Green

+ The Case for Tall Wood Buildings (PDF)

Via CNN and Treehugger

 

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5 Comments

  1. muhammed faizal April 1, 2014 at 11:37 am

    supreb thouht by sirM.green…m a kinda big fan of him abut his work in the field of architecture..he has given a new generation to the ffiel of architecture explaining about the timber

  2. kevinline1 August 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    @Observer
    “Trees chopped down” – this is a common misconception with sustainable forestry. When trees are cut down they are replanted in great abundance. This isn’t deforestation, but maintaining a renewable natural resource.

    A better question is “How much hydrofracking is required to obtain enough natural gas to make a concrete and steel building.” I am not sure, but the answer is a lot . . . how much natural gas for LVL structure . . . zero.

  3. Observer2012 March 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    I don´t understand why would it be the greenest building. How many trees will have to be chopped down to supply timber? You will need good dried wood for this despite LVL.
    “The wooden tower may seem like a fire hazard, but in reality it is actually safer than steel.” Mmmmm. Do you have any example of steel framed buildings that collapsed due to fire at 650º Celsius?

  4. Andrew Michler Andrew Michler March 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    @Andy,

    Steel loses strength very quickly in a fire where wood does not http://www.gsegroup.com/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=152&popup=1&newlang=eng.

    Yes wood burns, but the larger it is the slower it loses integrity, a predicable effect engineers can design for when making fire rated assemblies.

  5. andy monighan March 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    “The wooden tower may seem like a fire hazard, but in reality it is actually safer than steel. When exposed to fire, large timbers develop a charred exterior that insulates the structural wood underneath. In fact, the weakest point in a fire is the steel connection from the beams to the supporting posts.”

    Uh huh… Would you like I send you pictures of various all wood structures of the ‘post and beam’ type that used just this very sort of wooden beam? I can send ‘before and after’. After, typically, is a large hodge podge of burned wood and no identifiable structure.

    The reason, I think, that the ‘weakest point’ exists is that steel (pretty much non combustible) is attached one way or another to wood (very combustible). Am I surprised when the wood burns/weakens that the steel ‘connector’ loses its connection. Not a bit.

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