The world’s tallest wooden residential tower will be built

Wrote Amarachi Ori, CNN

Switzerland is set to be home to the world’s tallest wooden residential building.

The project, called Rocket and Tigerley, will have four buildings, including a 100-meter-long (328-foot) tower. The development will take place in the Swiss city of Winterthur, near Zurich.

According to designers at the Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL), the design will provide modern, high-quality housing with maximum flow of daylight. It will try to create an active neighborhood that will be “original in the historical context of the area,” according to a press release from the firm. For example, the facade will be covered with dark red and yellow terracotta bricks combined with dusty green details – matching the red roofs and yellow bricks of old buildings in the surrounding area.

The building, named after a locomotive once manufactured at Rocket and Tigerley's development site, will be built in Winterthur.

The building, named after a locomotive once manufactured at Rocket and Tigerley’s development site, will be built in Winterthur. Credit: Aesthetica Studio / Schmid Hammer Lassen Architects

Christian Ahlmark, SHL’s partner and design director, was quoted in the press release as saying, “We approach this project with humility.”

“This is a big project that will have a significant impact on the community socially and aesthetically. Because of Switzerland’s strong skills, when it comes to wood construction, we are especially proud to be working on this ground breaking project.”

The four buildings will have accommodation facilities as well as space for retailers, a sky bar and a hotel. It is expected to be completed by 2026 and ready for residents.

The 100-meter-high construction will follow a system that will replace a concrete core with wood.

The 100-meter-high construction will follow a system that will replace a concrete core with wood. Credit: Aesthetica Studio / Schmid Hammer Lassen Architects

The project marks a milestone in the construction of wooden buildings, SHL said. The firm added that at 100 meters, it sets records for residential buildings with load-bearing timber construction and “introduces an innovative construction system that tests wood as a natural substitute for concrete.”

According to the designers, the building will provide modern, high-quality housing with maximum flow of daylight.

According to the designers, the building will provide modern, high-quality housing with maximum flow of daylight. Credit: Aesthetica Studio / Schmid Hammer Lassen Architects

“This makes it possible to build taller buildings, at the same time, ensuring that the entire building process achieves a lower amount of embedded carbon,” the press release said.

Ahlmark added: “We have always been active in using our material (wood), not only because of its aesthetic qualities, but also because of its technological construction potential. The new production method presented in this project brings our love for materials in a modern building.”

SHL has competed with eight other architecture companies around the world to design the building. Earlier this year, its design proposal was chosen as the winner – in part because of its open block structure.

The jury said in its assessment: “By dissolving the original block structure and consolidating the isolated buildings, a larger facade area is achieved and thus more daylight, as well as a stronger connection with the surrounding environment.”

According to SHL, the bright passages and green open plazas arranged by the four buildings have been designed to enliven the neighborhood all day long.

According to SHL, the bright passages and green open plazas arranged by the four buildings have been designed to enliven the neighborhood all day long. Credit: Aesthetica Studio / Schmid Hammer Lassen Architects

SHL’s design was developed in close collaboration with local Swiss architecture studio Cometti Truffer Hodel.

The project joins other architectural initiatives to prove that wood can be used as a sustainable alternative to concrete and steel during high-rise construction. The 280-foot-tall Mjøstårnet tower in Brumundal, Norwegian city, became the tallest wooden building in the world when it opened in 2019. The 18-storey structure includes apartments, office space and a well-named Wood Hotel.

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