London’s first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality this week after researchers presented Mayor of London Boris Johnson with conceptual plans for an 80-storey, 300m high wooden building integrated within the Barbican.
Researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture are working with PLP Architecture and engineers on the future development of tall timber buildings in central London.
The proposed skyscraper would be built from farmed forest materials. Approximately 65,000-cubic-meters of structural timber would be used in construction, and structural softwood would be sourced from PEFC or FSC-certified forests. The relatively lightweight timber building would also be faster and quieter to build when compared to conventional construction.
The use of timber as a structural material in tall buildings is an area of emerging interest for its variety of potential benefits; the most obvious being that it is a renewable resource, unlike prevailing construction methods which use concrete and steel. The research is also investigating other potential benefits, such as reduced costs and improved construction timescales, increased fire resistance, and significant reduction in the overall weight of buildings.
The conceptual proposals currently being developed would create over 1,000 new residential units in a 1 million sq ft mixed-use tower and mid-rise terraces in central London, integrated within the Barbican.
At present, the world’s tallest timber building is a 14-storey apartment block in Bergen, Norway.