Woodworking: Transforming The Skyscraper

  • Building with timber is not exactly groundbreaking: wood is a material that is not only aesthetically pleasing (think log cabins in the Rocky Mountains), but one that is affordable, durable, and simple to maintain. Wood is a pretty ubiquitous material in much of the world, and it seems as though the time is right for this ligneous skyscraper proposal from Vancouver-based architect Michael Green.

    Green’s proposed tower, a 30-storey building largely made of wood floors, panels, and columns, is a boon to high-density architecture. As documented in Tall Wood, the 237-page proposal/report/manifesto licensed under Creative Commons (!), the concept works to get around height restrictions for wooden buildings by incorporating steel beams to reach skyscraper heights. The result is a building strategy that escapes the monotony of a glass-and-steel façade: beautiful.

    The interesting issue for wooden skyscrapers has little to do with regulations or whether or not these buildings are fireproof: it has more to do with whether or not this makes the process of architecture, from design concepts to finished buildings, a little bit shorter. Wooden buildings can be built quite quickly: maybe the wooden skyscraper can take us away from costly and time-consuming starchitecture and towards practical architectural solutions for the immediate needs of a city.