Everybody in America has seen a skyscraper; it’s an inevitable thing in this day and age. But have you ever seen one made entirely of wood? Japan plans on it.
We’ve all at least heard of pagodas in history books. These, so far, were the tallest wooden towers in Japan. But, slated to be finished in 2041, is a huge tower made by Sumitomo Forestry, in Tokyo. It is going to be made of 90% wooden materials, the other 10% being miscellaneous materials like steel and glass. If built, it would stand 1,148 feet tall. But why is this such a big deal?
There are many wooden skyscrapers- or “plyscrapers” if you prefer- around the world. The current record holder stands tall in Canada, piercing the sky at 164 feet tall. It’s called the Brock Commons Tallwood house, and it houses students in Vancouver. It is currently the world’s tallest mass timber structure, meaning it is composed primarily of wood. Before that was the Treet in Central Bergen, Norway. It is 160 feet tall. It took the record from the 104 foot tall Forte residential area in Melbourne, Australia. There is another proposed wooden tower: the Oakwood Tower, to be built in London. It would stand 1,000 feet tall, and only be shadowed in London by the famous Shard skyscraper.
I’m sure there’s a question nagging at your mind: won’t it burn down really easily? The answer may surprise you: no. As a rule, you need weak, thin wood for kindling. All of these towers have been built of thick, sturdy timber, which tends not to burn easily. On top of that, much of the wood is layered into a sturdier design, rather like weaving. It is then covered in strong, fire-resistant glue. In short, these things aren’t burning down. Let’s just hope they don’t fall, because that would be one big “timber”! I’m sure these towers will be a great contribution to the urban “jungle”.
Story by Jonas Suskey
CNN World News
The University of British Columbia