Up to what height will wood be able to compete with concrete? In Tokyo, the Japanese group Sumitomo Forestry Co. wants to build a wooden skyscraper that is higher than the Eiffel tower.
The organisers of the last Mipim Sustainability Summit call it ‘the current obsession of architects’. In the entire world, there are more and more wooden real estate projects. But the first Tokyo wooden skyscraper is the most ambitious of all. Orchestrated by Sumimoto Forestry, a branch of the vast Nippon conglomerate Sumitomo, the tower will be 350 metres high, will have 70 floors and will consist of 90% of wood.
This achievement will pulverise the existing height record of mainly wooden buildings. Currently, the highest wooden building in the world, completed last year, is located in Vancouver (Canada). The tower is 53 metres high, has 18 floors, and was built to house students of the University of British Columbia.
The Tokyo project has an entirely different goal. The company, specialised in construction wood and real estate development, wants to build this skyscraper in the centre of Tokyo, in the Marunochi district, one of the most prestigious business and fashion districts of the Japanese capital. The tower will have flats, offices, shops and a hotel. It will offer a living area of 455,000m2, or 6,500m2 per floor, and a roof garden.
185.000 m3 of wood
To be able to deal with the elevated risk of earthquakes in the region, the skyscraper will have a hybrid primary structure of wood and steel posts and beams (90% wood), with extensive rigidification. There will be balconies at the four facades of the building. The inner secondary structure will be made entirely out of wood. In total, 185.000 m3 of wood will be used. Sumitomo has started soon enough: the conglomerate builds this skyscraper to celebrate its 350th birthday in… 2041. And to help to turn cities into forests.