Architecture firm Rüdiger Lainer and Partner has unveiled plans to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper in the Seestadt Aspern area of Vienna. The 276ft, 24 story HoHo tower will house a hotel, apartments, a restaurant, a wellness center and offices. 76 percent of the structure will be constructed from wood, which will save a phenomenal 2,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions over similar structures built out of steel and concrete.
Speaking to the Guardian, project developer Caroline Palfy, of Kerbler explained “I think it is important everyone now… thinks in different ways. We have wood, which is a perfect construction material for building. It was used 200 years ago and it was perfect then and is perfect now.”
Not only is the material appropriate for construction of such a building, it is radically more environmentally friendly than concrete. According to research from Columbia University, the manufacturing of cement—a key ingredient in concrete—accounts for a whopping five percent of all global CO2 emissions. Trees, on the other hand, absorb CO2 as they grow—so, if wood is sustainably sourced it can serve as an eco-friendly alternative building material.
And so the HoHo tower could, on its own, save 2,800 tonnes of C02 emissions, equivalent, the architects say, to driving a car 25 miles a day for 1,300 years. Impressive stuff (assuming it’s not a Tesla). There is, however, one substantial downside to wood over concrete: it’s not quite so fire-proof. The Vienna Fire Department has voiced their concerns, and is now working with Rüdiger Lainer and Partner to ensure the safety of their plans, which includes measures such as “a more fail-safe sprinkler system.”
Via The Guardian