'Mjosa Tower' (in the picture) in Norway was opened on 15th March 2019, which made news all over the world. Well, what made it unique? It is officially the world's tallest building (85.4 meters / 18 stories) entirely made of wood. Yes, you read it right - 'wood'.
When we think about building, automatically we picture materials like bricks, concrete and metal. What made architects switch to wood?
Wood is not new. Before concrete, wood was the only option for building material. It fell out of choice because of the fire hazard. In 1666 the Great Fire of London destroy almost the entire central London's wooden buildings. So what made us again switch back to Timber wood. Let's find out
1. Fire safety
It may sound hilarious but scientists have seen well-engineered timber wood can be made fire-proof. Wood is capable of sustaining more fire damage than metal or concrete. The experiment has shown that at extreme temperature metal can melt and collapse the entire building but wood can still hold the structure, providing more safety.
Modern engineering has made wooden structure stronger. Cross-laminated timber or CLT can be made by glueing those wood pieces together in a criss-cross pattern. Experiments have shown that this is as strong as a concrete block of the same width but of course, weighing much lesser than concrete.
3. Low Carbon Footprint
Wood is a natural lockbox of CO2. Studies have shown wooden skyscraper can have 73% less carbon footprint than a concrete building. Wood is a good insulator of heat. So building made with wood can have a great energy efficiency for cooling or heating. As a result, this contributes to reducing Global warming.
Can this be the future?
Architects said it is highly possible. As an example, Canada started a project - 'Canada Earth Tower' - a 40 storied Wooden Skyscraper. Many other multi-storied projects are also ongoing in the UK. So, of course, the change is happening worldwide and this could start a new era of sustainable and greener buildings.