“I’ve seen people come into my buildings and hug wooden columns. I’ve never seen them hug steel or concrete columns.”
Michael Green, architect,
TED Talks, watch the video here
The most progressive and creative minds of Europe and the world have been living for a while now with the wooden architecture and construction idea in their heads. From Tokyo to Vancouver, people are engineering, drawing and discussing – whether or not wood is the construction material of the future. Those who have overcome this phase and answered themselves that wood is our future are starting to talk about wooden skyscrapers.
Wooden skyscrapers in Europe
For the sake of being specific, let’s choose three places from the map of Europe – Bergen, Vienna and Stockholm – and have a look at how things are going for the developers of the idea of wooden skyscrapers.
Let’s start with the current champion, a 14-storey residential house produced from CLT panels. This video will tell the story:
Vienna and Austria is the centre of innovations of wooden construction. In order to know what will happen in wooden construction during the next five years, we can just look at what’s happening in Austria today. In 2016, the construction of a 25-storey skyscraper in Vienna will be commenced. This project was met with concern and discussions from the side of the fire department, but the problems have been solved, the sprinkler systems are aligned and until 2020 this house will be visible in nature. The spokeswoman for the Austrian People’s party, Katrina Riedl, has said: “Vienna is not a city of skyscrapers. But innovation is part of our city…”
The Stockholm construction organisation HSB Stockholm chose this version of a wooden skyscraper from three proposed candidates in 2013. The wooden skyscraper won the contest (including the Facebook vote) and its construction is planned to be finished in 2023. It is going to be the highest wooden building in the world.
The author of these lines does not think that wood construction is the panacea for all problems. As any material, wood has its place in construction. Time will show if a wooden skyscraper is a creative ambition or a rational decision.