Tokyo to Build World’s Highest Timber Tower

A Japanese timber company has announced plans to build the tallest wooden building in the world.

Image Credit

Japan’s Highest Building

Sumitomo Forestry will build the 350-metre skyscraper in Tokyo – named W350 – which will also be the country’s highest building. The 70-storey building will celebrate the company’s 350th anniversary and will be complete in 2041.

Beating the World Record

Impressively, the building will be four times higher than the current tallest timber structure in Vancouver, Canada. Designed in partnership by Sumitomo’s Tsukuba Research Laboratory and Tokyo-based Nikken Sekkei, it will be 90 per cent timber, or 185,000 cubic metres of wood.

Based on a ‘braced tube structure’, the steel and timber columns and beams will also be complemented by extra diagonal steel braces.

Environmentally Friendly

With balconies covered in vegetation, the finished tower will house a hotel, space for residential use as well as offices and shops. The tower will be built in one of the world’s busiest most urbanised cities, so its biodiversity offer has been praised.

Image Credit

Rising Costs

The timber frame construction company estimates it will cost around £4.2 billion, a massive increase in the cost of building traditional high-rise buildings. Importantly, it hopes to reduce these costs by developing and implementing new technology which can be used in its construction. It is hoped that it will encourage other cities to follow suit, particularly as timber-framed buildings are becoming increasingly popular, with many companies – such as – now supplying such structures.

A Boost for Timber

In 2010, the Act for Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Buildings was passed in Japan, boosting the development of such structures. Indeed, the 2020 Olympic stadium, under construction in Tokyo, is being built using timber. Traditionally, Japanese buildings were mostly built of timber, but over the years the risk of fire has drastically reduced the building of timber structures.

Future Plans

The increase in the popularity of timber buildings is gaining momentum. Other examples include a 300-metre one in the Barbican, London, the brain child of PLP Architecture, and a timber-framed high-rise building in Canada’s Toronto.

Benefits of Wood

Wooden skyscrapers are quicker to build and have less impact on the environment. The carbon footprint of steel and concrete is massive – they are responsible for around 5 per cent and 88 per cent respectively of global emissions.