So many tall timber building projects have been announced over the last few years, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Wood construction is definitely on an upward trend around the world as architects, developers and government officials realize just how sustainable, beautiful, safe, durable and affordable it can be.
Right now, with dozens of timber towers planned, proposed or under construction, a number of projects are competing for the title of the tallest wooden building in the world. Which ones actually make that record – however temporarily – will depend on when they’re finished relative to each other.
When PLP Architecture announced plans for its Oakwood Tower in London – set to be the city’s second tallest building in total, after the Shard, at 1,000 feet – it seemed like it would be hard to beat. Most of the other multi-story buildings primarily made of wood that are currently in development are closer to 200 feet, which is still pretty impressive. But Tokyo’s 350 Project, if realized, will blow even Oakwood out of the water.
Designed by architecture firm Nikken Sekkei and Japanese developer Sumitomo Forest, the 1,148-foot-tall 350 Project skyscraper will consist of an amazing 6.5 million cubic feet of wood in the braced tubing structural system alone, its framing specifically designed to withstand earthquakes. The visible timber frame highlights the physicality of the wood, creating lots of open outdoor spaces on every level, some planted with trees and other vegetation.
It’s not set to be completed until 2041, which is awfully far away, and there’s no telling what could happen before then. But the project would easily become Japan’s tallest building as well as the tallest timber tower in the world. Nikken Sekkei hopes that even the attention-grabbing renderings will help pique public interest in timber architecture and give the forestry industry in rural areas a big boost.