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Building skyscrapers out of wood: It sounds bizarre, unsafe, maybe even a the 1 last update 2020/06/03 bit twee. But it could actually be the future of construction.Building skyscrapers out of wood: It sounds bizarre, unsafe, maybe even a bit twee. But it could actually be the future of construction.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for "" Todd Snapp, an architect with the global firm for 1 last update 2020/06/03 Perkins + Will, told The Week. """" Todd Snapp, an architect with the global firm Perkins + Will, told The Week. ""
Snapp is the design principal guiding the firm''s downtown, on the east shore of the river and just west of Grant Park. Cambridge University''s rendering of the River Beech Tower project. Image courtesy of Perkins + Will.)
Granted, River Beech Tower remains purely conceptual — a collection of designs and models, with no actual plans yet to build it. But the point of the project was to prove the idea could work.
Nor is it the only such effort. Similar plans are underway in London, Stockholm, and other cities. Eighteen-story buildings made of timber already exist in Vancouver and Minneapolis, while other structures have popped up in Norway and New Zealand.
Perkins + Will actually got its start in Chicago back in 1935. In fact, the city''s architecturally iconic Wrigley Building, which houses the offices where Snapp and his colleagues did much of their work on the River Beech Tower project. It''s owners and residents on heating and cooling costs.
On the flip side, wood can sway too much, particularly in the wind — a major issue for taller buildings. For the River Beech Tower project, Snapp and his colleagues actually solved this problem by constructing the whole building out of triangle and diamond shapes. A triangle is a much more structurally sturdy form than a rectangle, so taking a more flexible material like wood and building triangles out of it created a structure that holds up well under forces coming at it from all sides. It also lent the project its interesting "" aesthetic. Key connection points in the building would be reinforced with steel encased in concrete, and glass would be used in windows along with some other exterior materials. Beyond that, the skyscraper would be basically all wood.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for (Artist''s rendering of the River Beech Tower project. Image courtesy of Perkins + Will.)
"" as Snapp put it.
Another interesting aspect of wood is that it''s still relatively new, and the use of wood allowed the team to take full advantage of it. It''s also worth mentioning that a world where we built a lot more skyscrapers out of wood would almost certainly be a more environmentally friendly place.
Obviously, there are aspects of construction that will emit CO2 no matter what material you use. But steel and concrete also have carbon emissions intrinsic to that material: Sixty percent of concrete''d certainly need regulatory oversight to make sure the timber came from cash crop planting and not from cutting down pre-existing forests. But planting more trees is an excellent idea for fighting climate change.
So what''s River Beech Tower feed into the process of reviewing and expanding what''t Congress be considered essential?Jeff Spross
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