The world surrenders to wooden skyscrapers.
The world disputes a race to build the tallest wooden building. These skyscrapers without concrete or steel seek to awaken consciences. And, above all, to be pioneers in blurring the limits of wood as a construction material. Norway is one of the countries that have carried this task further and higher. The city of Brumunddal, 150 kilometers from Oslo, houses the tallest wooden skyscraper in the world. Mjøstårnet, which began construction in April 2017 and was inaugurated last week, is a building of 85.4 meters high that shows that it is possible to build on high with sustainable materials. The Norwegian investor Arthur Buchardt is the promoter of this ambitious green symbol. It has 18 floors and houses a hotel, apartments, offices, a restaurant and common areas.
There are many reasons to turn to wood from sustainable forests. “It is a renewable resource that can be reused and recycled and its use helps to counteract the greenhouse effect. It also contributes to a healthy indoor climate, regulates humidity and temperature, has good acoustic and insulating properties, and can also help reduce stress, “say Moelven, the company responsible for the installation of the wooden structure of Mjøstårnet. This company, with more than 120 years of life, has just marked its second world record, since the first was The Tree, which in December 2015 became the largest skyscraper in the world, with 14 levels and 51 meters.
Mjøstårnet will not be the tallest for long. Too much competition. In fact, it has already left the leader who was a leader a few days ago: Brock Commons, the student residence of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada), 18 floors and 53 meters. Other cities are already trying to snatch the post to Norway. Tokyo plans the W350 building, which will be 350 meters high and 70 floors. Under construction is the HoHo building, in Vienna, with 24 floors, and another one with 84 floors in Chicago. Technological advances make today a material as safe as any other, but much cleaner, to grow in height. “We will see in the future what is the limit of the wood in the construction of skyscrapers,” says José Antonio González, founder and CEO of Arquima, specializing in modular construction with light wood framework.
Regardless of the height, the truth is that climate change and international agreements on climate are promoting the use of materials that respect the environment. Also, “the greatest environmental awareness (the ecological footprint of wood is much less than other materials), the need to save energy and the greatest concern for health inside buildings,” says Pere Linares, head of House Habitat , company specializing in biopasive construction. And on that trip, the wood has a preferred seat.