London’s skyline could soon have a new addition – a 300m-tall, 80-storey wooden skyscraper. Researchers from the University of Cambridge are collaborating with an engineering consultancy group on the building’s construction.
The use of timber as a structural material is on the rise due to it being both a renewable resource and a cheaper form of construction.
The 300,000m² structure would house 300,000 residential units in central London. The skyscraper would be built as part of the Barbican complex, itself built between 1960-1970 in an area which had been destroyed during the Blitz, in WWII.
Michael Ramage, head of the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at Cambridge University, explained that opting to use timber as the main construction material could avoid some 50,000 tones of CO2 emissions, lower building costs and result in a significant reduction in the weight of the building. It’s estimated that the skyscraper would require 65,000m³ of timber, sourced from renewable plantations.
The team proposes the use of so-called ”cultivated’ timber for the construction of the impressive high-rise. This means that the timber is sourced from cultivated forests, which are currently an expanding market. At present, Canada has almost one fifth of the world’s forest cover, with timber forests covering an area of around 2.5 million km². This places it as a key sector for the country’s economy.
For now, the world’s tallest wooden building – a 14-storey timber apartment block – is to be found in Bergen, Norway.