Danish studio Schmidt Hammer Lassen has revealed its design for a 100m housing block in Switzerland, which will be the world's tallest timber building when it completes in 2026.
The building, near Zurich, will be comprised of four volumes of different heights, one of which will rise to 100 metres making it the world's tallest building with a load-bearing timber structure.
The Swiss residential building (named Rocket & Tigerli) will surpass the current tallest timber residential tower, the 85.4m Mjøstårnet building in Norway, by 14.6 metres. The secret to these 'plyscrapers' is due to a new way to create plywood, and it involves laminating boards of wood together with glue at 90-degree angles before pressing them together under the immense pressure and steam of industrial wood presses. It's known as cross-laminated timber (CLT).
Buildings like the Terrace House in Vancouver (19 story), the HoHo in Vienna (24 story), the Ascent in Milwaukee (25 story), and the Mjøstårnet in Norway - currently the tallest wooden tower in the world - wouldn’t be possible without CLT and mass-timber technology.
Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to chop down trees to create new buildings, the reality is that if felled at the right age they have reached their maximum capacity to sequester carbon. The CLT process then locks in the already sequestered carbon and holds it captive.
Wooden structures like these are going to become a more frequent sight around the world. They create lower carbon emissions and require less time to build. And, happily, look rather beautiful.