Timber construction reaches for the sky - A tranche of twenty-first century timber hi-rise projects are emerging across Europe, aimed at squaring the compact city hi-density circle with the demands of zero energy housing. Oliver Lowenstein looks at WaughThistletonís ground-breaking Murray Grove in London, along with further projects in Germany, Norway and Sweden, in the first of this two-part series.
This is a five page article. First published in June 2009
The planetís population is heaving, and urbanising fast. There isnít enough liveable land, in cities particularly, so where do you build? Up, of course. And voila, the rationale for hi-rise, the world over! But then thereís resource wars, and increasing attempts to figure out how to carbon neutralise building stock, something of a problem for steel and concrete laden hi-rise. But what if you could build with carbon neutral materials? What if you could build in timber?
Itís an ambition which has been around for decades, though stifled by regulations and the limits of timber performance. But now with developments in engineered timber, with regulations changing all over Europe and with the realisation that the days of sole reliance on hi-energy materials are numbered, the arrival of timber towers has almost arrived, or at least is on the horizon.
Several countries in Europe are in the midst of building medium, to what is technically graded as the lower end of hi-rise (ten storeys). Unsurprisingly, this is a building aspiration which is unlikely to disappear. While not on the level of the hyper hi-rise ...
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