Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.
A new high-rise planned for Dornbin, Austria, is notable for its principle construction material: wood. The 30-story tower will be the tallest wood building in the world, reports Treehugger, and its maker, CREE (Creative Renewable Energy and Efficiency), is mounting a charge to restore wood as a renewable material for large urban projects.
The tower’s skeleton, to be certain, comprises not entirely wood but rather a prefabricated, hybrid post-and-beam construction in which each level is made of a timber-concrete composite slab and columns are made from “glulam” laminated wood.
As a structural material for tall buildings, wood was long ago scrapped as old-school in favor of concrete and steel. But some qualities make it shine brightly in sustainable architecture and sustainable building. Treehugger quotes from CREE’s celebration of wood:
To use wood as the main component for high-rise buildings may at first sight appear to be unusual. However, the advantages are obvious, for no other building material is produced with a similar regard for energy saving. Wood is a naturally renewable raw material, has high strength and low weight, and guarantees optimum heat insulation, durability, noise and vibration damping characteristics. As one of the earth’s oldest building materials, wood meets the latest safety requirements even today, and is also 100 percent recyclable. In urban architecture, wood is therefore an outstanding alternative for the future.
Image courtesy of CREE.