Written by Oscar for 1 last update 2020/05/28 Holland, CNNOscar Holland, CNN
Surrounded by farmland and with a population of under 10,000 people, the Norwegian town of Brumunddal might seem like an unlikely setting for a record-breaking high-rise.
But soaring above the neighboring Mjøsa lake, more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Oslo, the 280-foot-tall Mjøstårnet tower became the world''re compressed into huge beams or panels under extreme pressure.
The resulting wooden towers -- sometimes dubbed "" -- were once the preserve of conceptual designers. But thanks to changes in building regulations and shifting attitudes towards the material, they are quickly becoming a reality.
The tallest tower of the HoHo Vienna project in Austria reaches up to 276 feet. Credit: HoHo Vienna / Michael Baumgartner / KiTO
A slew of new timber high-rises is set to break ground or open in 2020. HoHo Vienna, a mixed-use development just five feet shorter than Mjøstårnet, has just opened for business
in Austria. And while Europe has traditionally led the charge, North America is quickly catching up.
In Vancouver -- a city already home to a 174-foot-tall wooden student residence
-- the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban has designed a "" condo complex
comprising a steel and concrete core with a timber frame that will open this year. Meanwhile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, work on a 238-foot wooden apartment block, Ascent, is set to begin in June.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Climate economics
Advocates for mass timber claim that, compared to existing options, these towers are quicker to construct, stronger and, perhaps most surprisingly, safer in the event of a fire. It may, however, be their green credentials that explain wood''s energy consumption, and approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. But while concrete emits a huge amount of carbon, trees instead absorb it throughout their lifetime.
Designed by Acton Ostry Architects, the University of British Columbia's student residence Brock Commons Tallwood House, in Vancouver, stands at 174 feet tall. Credit: Acton Ostry Architects/Michael Elkan
If those trees are then turned into mass timber, that carbon is "" or sequestered, rather than returned to the atmosphere when the tree dies. Studies suggest that 1 cubic meter of wood can store more than a ton
of carbon dioxide.
The developers of Milwaukee'' 10-story design, which won a government competition to occupy a site in New York''s tallest wooden tower before was canceled
amid cost concerns last year.
However, the cost of cross-laminated timber has fallen in recent years and is now "" with traditional materials, Green said. Likewise, Elgsaas reported that the developer behind Norway''s University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently completed an 18-month study
comparing a tall timber building with a concrete and steel equivalent. According to Philip Oldfield, an associate professor at the university''s cheaper.
"" he said. ""Paragraph__component BasicArticle__paragraph BasicArticle__pad""We have to solve climate change by making things more affordable, not by asking people to suck it up and pay more, because it doesn''s possible,""Paragraph__component BasicArticle__paragraph BasicArticle__pad""Paragraph__component BasicArticle__paragraph BasicArticle__pad""Paragraph__component BasicArticle__paragraph BasicArticle__pad""We used to build big, giant wood buildings in North America and around the world, but we really stopped when concrete came about,""Paragraph__component BasicArticle__paragraph BasicArticle__pad""There were some big city fires, and naturally we said, ''s not build with combustible materials any more''re talking about growing a brand-new forest of 100-by-100-kilometers.
Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry plans to spend 600 billion yen ($5.6 billion) to build a 1,148-foot-tall wooden skyscraper in 2041 to mark its 350th anniversary. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Credit: Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd.
Oldfield''s decades or centuries later? And does this negate the benefits of using the material in the first place?
"" he said.
Tackling these questions are for the years and decades to come. For now, however, it appears that cost-shy developers are considering the material'' Toronto project.