Until recently, the idea of using renewable materials in high-rise construction was viewed by many as the realm of fantasy. However, in recent years the use of timber has been emerging as a practical option. Over the past twelve months we have been applying our knowledge and expertise to the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) frames in high-rise construction.
We have been able to put this research into practice and have undertaken several feasibility studies and concept designs for clients for timber frames between six and twelve storeys. So what is next for timber frame construction? There are a number of technical challenges, including fire risk, robustness and acoustics that are benefitting from industry wide research in which we are fully engaged.
With these issues being addressed, the residential sector can benefit greatly by using CLT framing systems. We are seeing Planning Authorities looking to introduce planning requirements for timber buildings and clients seeking to capitalise on these opportunities.But how high can we go?
Currently the world’s tallest CLT building is the ten-storey Forte Building in Melbourne. However, there are several recent studies, including those by MGB Architects in Vancouver, and Cambridge University, which suggest thirty to seventy stories are possible if hybrid structural forms and chemical modification of timber are explored. We have had fun exploring the possibilities and currently have a twenty storey CLT building and a thirty storey CLT / concrete hybrid building on our sketch wall. Just looking for the right moment!
Check out the PDF download of the New York Times Article on Timber towers...