B.C. study foresees wood skyscrapers

Posted by Rumin Mann
March 11th, 2011

Vancouver architect Michael Green, inside a washroom he designed and built with old paperback books, says it’s reasonable to expect that 30storey skyscrapers could be built mostly of wood

A study funded by the B.C. government to help promote the province’s forestry sector will conclude that buildings as tall as 30 storeys could be made almost entirely out of wood, says an award-winning Vancouver architect leading the research.

Michael Green, who detailed his vision for the world’s first “timber skyscraper” during a keynote address last week at a Green Cities conference in Australia, told Postmedia News on Monday that a provincially supported study due to be released later this month will show that such buildings can be cost-saving as well as both fire-and earthquake-safe, and that Canada is ideally positioned to lead an emerging global “race” to reinvent the highrise construction industry -with wood challenging steel and concrete as the ideal building material.

“The exciting thing is, from an engineering point of view, we think we have something that is on track to be able to design -comfortably -20-storey buildings,” said Green, a partner in the Vancouver firm McFarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design Inc.

“And certainly, we believe, quite reasonably, we’ll be able to stretch that to 30 storeys.”

A nine-storey building in Britain in currently the world’s tallest wood structure. Green said a 10-storey project in Australia, a 17-storey building in Norway and a 30-storey structure in Austria have been proposed recently.

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