The Tallest Timber Framed Towers in the World

Published Tuesday 09th February 2016

Wood is rising to new heights, in the 21st century, replacing steel and concrete as the architectural material.  A development in the types of engineered timber allows architects to build better and higher buildings. Green advocates and progressive architects have begun to push wood as the main material for a new generation of high rises and towers.

In this guide, we take a look at five spectacular timber-framed towers that embrace the fantastic properties of timber which are (or will soon be) disrupting the world's skyline.

Through the United States Department of Agriculture and Softwood Lumber Board, a $3million prize fund was set up for applications, which exemplified the diversity of this new type of construction.

tallest timber towerOne of the winners of this prize fund was the 475 West, 18th Street, which will rise in the Chelsea Neighbourhood. This building will become New York’s, tallest building constructed from timber containing 15 apartments, with two, three or four bedroom apartments. The building will serve as a model for the industry, demonstrating the innovative approach to construction, with a timber structure exposed to show the natural beauty and strength of wood.

tallest timber tower

The other winner of the prize fund was a 12-storey tower for Portland, Oregon designed by Lever Architecture. This 40-metre tower will be one of the first tall wooden buildings in the US. Inside and outside the building, wooden elements will be intertwined to highlight the dominance that wood will have in the building. A vertical core will split the building up meaning the wood is visible all the way through the building.

tallest timber tower

The “Living Laboratory” of Vancouver will become the world’s tallest timber tower once completed in the autumn of 2017. Brock Commons will provide researchers the ability to monitor the buildings performance. This environmentally friendly structure encompasses the sustainability and green design of the University of British Columbia. The stunning student accommodation will cost $30 million.

tallest timber tower

Quebec’s economy leans on the forest industry, so the development of the 13-storey Origine Timber tower in the eco district of Quebec’s City Pointe-aux- Lieveres seems like a perfect match. The safety of this building is impressive, in a fire resistant test, Origine mock up walls and floors resisted for three and a half hours at 1,200 degrees, far longer than the required two hours.

tallest timber tower

The Stadthaus, at Murray Grove in Hackney was the pioneer of timber residential tower buildings. The speed of construction at this development was remarkable, with each floor reaching completion in three days. In reference to the building materials, ecological considerations were not as important as economic benefits of using timber. The architects presented the facts that a timber framed construction would be faster, simpler and more cost effective than steel framed one.

If you’ve got any questions about the tallest timber frames, or would like share your own experiences, if you live in a timber house or plan to live in one of the timber towers, we’d love to hear from you – so get in touch on Twitter.

Plus if you’re already convinced that wood is right for you, and perfect for your next project, take a look at our fantastic product range today.