A Japanese company is set to build a skyscraper made of 90% wood in Tokyo, which will make it the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper upon completion. Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese wood products company, is planning to build the massive structure which they have named “W350”. The wooden high-rise will be built to commemorate the company’s 350th anniversary in 2041.
Standing at 350 metres-tall and 70 stories, the company’s aim is to create environmentally-friendly and timber-utilizing environments, cities which become forests through increased use of wooden architecture for high-rise buildings.
“W350” will be a braced tube structure at 1,150 feet tall and 70 stories. To construct it, 180,000 cubic meters of indigenous wood will be combined with the other 10% of the building’s makeup—steel. The internal framework of braced tubes takes into account Japan’s high rates of seismic activity to prevent deformation of the building due to lateral forces such as earthquakes or wind.
Plans for the building also include balconies on all four sides of the skyscraper where “people can enjoy fresh outside air, rich natural elements and sunshine filtering through foliage …. the interior structure is of a pure wood, producing a calm space that exudes the warmth and gentleness of wood”.
Forests in Japan cover approximately two-thirds of its land area, putting it in second place among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, behind Finland. However, the company inidcated that the self-supply rate for domestically-produced timber is only around 30% which they say means that Japan’s forests are at risk due to insufficient maintenance.
“Although the large amounts of Japanese cedar and Japanese cypress planted after the Second World War have now reached the time for harvesting, they are being left in an un-maintained state as devastation of our domestic forests continues. It is crucial to use these trees and replant them after harvesting to encourage sustainability of forests,” the company reportedly said.
The total cost of the building will be approximately $5.6 billion, roughly twice the amount of a conventional high-rise building. Its potential for use will be for offices, hotels, residences or shops. Currently, the tallest wooden building is Brock Commons at the University of British Colombia, Vancouver. It stands at 174 feet and 18 stories high.
For Further Reading:
Resources for further research into wooden skyscrapers include:
• Building Design and Construction web article: https://www.bdcnetwork.com/building-wood-towers-how-high-timber-structures
• Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/will-skyscrapers-future-be-built-wood-180959475/
• Wikipedia, List of tallest wooden buildings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_wooden_buildings