The rise of wooden buildings

July 3rd, 2013

Construction is going back to its roots (pun totally intended) with wood being used for skyscrapers. It looks like architects around the world are skipping log cabins and using wood to build high-rises. Here’s one we discovered last year.

Due to the natural concerns of wood rotting and the risk of fires, many building codes had restrictions on wooden structures but now the rules are changing thanks to studies and evidence supporting the economical and environmental benefits of building with wood.


Scandinavian architecture firm C.F. Moller recently unveiled a proposal to create the world’s tallest wooden building in Stockholm. The 34-storey skyscraper would serve as vision for a more sustainable future; wood is a much cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative to steel and concrete.

Wood Skyscraper Planned for Stockholm (2)

Wooden pillars, beams, walls, ceilings and window frames will all be visible through the building’s glass facade.  The building would be built over a wooden construction with a concrete core. The winning entry in the competition (this design is currently shortlisted with two other proposals) organized by Swedish building society HSB Stockholm, is scheduled to open in 2023.


Michael Green, principal at Michael Green Architecture, had been dreaming of bringing a wooden skyscraper to Vancouver. He did his research and published a report called  THE CASE FOR Tall Wood BUILDINGS describing why timber wood is actually better from an economic and environmental standpoint, and, most importantly, why it’s safe.

In March, Michael Green Architects announced plans to build the tallest wooden skyscraper in North America. The Wood Innovation and Design Center in Prince George, British Columbia is a 90-foot-tall tower that showcases new methods for building with wood. It will be six storeys tall but will look like a nine-storey building due to mezzanines and double-height floors.


The Wood Innovation and Design Center will be complete by June 2014.


Melbourne, Australia is home to the tallest timber residential building in the world. The ten-storey Forte was completed in 2012 and is an architectural marvel. The building contributes to Australia’s sustainability efforts with vegetable gardens on each balcony, LED lights, bike share and rain captures.
Lend Lease, the building’s developer, told Building Products News that Forte was 30% faster to build, had less construction traffic, caused less disruption and less waste. Plus, by using cross laminated timber (CLT) Forte reduces carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by more than 1,400 tonnes when compared to concrete and steel.

Now we’re trying to imagine a wood version of E Condos. What do you think?