SOM gets on Board with Tall Wood

Tall Wood

If you have been following the recent building trends in wood architecture, you may have already asked yourself this question: How tall can we build in wood? As it turns out, the currently most prolific highrise planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is throwing their weight into the discussion. With a recently published report, this firm is now promoting the technical feasibility of a 42-story wooden highrise.

Main findings of the report are:

  • Wood acts as a carbon sink and has low embodied energy. It can therefore significantly improve the environmental impact of a tall building.
  • This system can reduce the carbon footprint of high rises by 60-75%.
  • A hybrid system of mass wood and supplemental reinforced concrete was found to be more feasible than a wood-only system.
  • Concrete was used at especially highly-stressed joints.
  • This system can compete with concrete or steel.
  • More work is needed for building code acceptance and physical testing related to fire.

You can read the report for yourself at the link below.


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