At first glance, it might appear to be an unsustainable practice, but the proposition of building an entirely wooden skyscraper may be an opportunity for innovation, according to architect and University of Toronto Professor Larry Richards. The idea that wooden structures could reach twenty-to-forty floors high makes all the more sense when considering that such buildings have shown to be resistant to natural disasters and fires, while utilizing a renewable resource as the main ingredient. In theory, an all-wood structure is more susceptible to fire as opposed to steel. However, structurally, a wooden skyscraper would burn slower reducing the chance of failure, whereas steel could bend and collapse at a faster rate. Architect and Director and Professor of the McGill School of Architecture, Avi Friedman cites risk aversion as a primary hurdle standing in the way. He questions whether any city would approve the construction of a structure that really doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. He further adds,
“Homebuyers are also not risk takers. When people buy homes, it’s usually the biggest investment they will make in their life. So they are, of course, reluctant to gamble. Thus, it might be a bigger problem to build a wooden condominium building than it would be to build a wooden office tower.”
Friedman doesn’t disagree with the potential, he just wants to see who is going to take that first step. What do you think? Is he being too conservative? Are people informed about the debate between steel and wood? Do you know what your building is made of?
The video below shows the construction of the Waugh Thistleton’s Timber Tower in London, UK, one of the tallest wooden residential buildings in the world. Full article here.