C. F. Møller designs world's tallest
wooden skyscraper

| 50 comments
 

News: Scandinavian firm C. F. Møller has revealed proposals that could see the world's tallest timber-framed building constructed in Stockholm.

As one of three shortlisted proposals in a housing design competition, the 34-storey Wooden Skyscraper is presented by architect C. F. Møller, architect Dinell Johansson and consultant Tyréns as a vision of future housing that would be cheaper, easier and more sustainable than typical steel and concrete constructions.

Wooden Skyscraper by C. F. Møller

"The main reason it hasn't been done before is that concrete and steel have a big part of the market," C. F. Møller architect Ola Jonsson told Dezeen. "But now the building industry has started taking responsibity for the environment."

He continued: "Construction accounts for around 30-40 percent of CO2 produced in the world globally and if you look at the CO2 released in the production of wood it is a lot better than steel or concrete."

Wooden Skyscraper by C. F. Møller

According to Jonsson, using wood could even be a cheaper alternative, as it is a lighter material that costs far less to transport. It is also more fire-resistant than steel or concrete.

"We have a long history of building wooden structures in Sweden," he explains. "We have a higher knowledge of how to use the wood those days and we know that glued or nailed wood does have very strong construction qualities."

Wooden Skyscraper by C. F. Møller

If built, the 34-storey building would exceed the height of the nine-storey Murray Grove tower in London, as well as a proposed 20-storey tower in Vancouver by architect Michael Green and a Swedish tower approved at 30 floors. "I've seen sketches of other buildings, but we are definitely at the highest end of this discussion," said Jonsson.

Wooden pillars, beams, walls, ceilings and window frames will all be visible through the building's glass facade. The presented designs also include a concrete core, although Jonsson says this could be replaced with wood. "We believe a modern building should use every material for its best purpose," he adds.

Wooden Skyscraper by C. F. Møller
Typical floor plan - click for larger image

The winning entry in the competition, organised by Swedish building society HSB Stockholm, is scheduled to open in 2023 to coincide with the organisation's 100th birthday. Anyone can vote for the winner using the HSB Stockholm Facebook page.

Other projects by C. F. Møller include an art and craft museum completed recently in Norway and a centre for entrepreneurs with a green fibre-cement staircase.

Wooden Skyscraper by C. F. Møller
Concept section - click for larger image

See more architecture by C. F. Møller »
See more skyscrapers »

Here's some more information from C. F. Møller:


Wooden Skyscraper

For HSB Stockholm's architectural competition 2023, three teams of architects have produced innovative proposals for private residences of the future at three different locations in the centre of Stockholm. Berg | C.F. Møller's proposed design is a 34-storey skyscraper made of wood.

Berg | C.F. Møller Architects are working in partnership with architects Dinell Johansson and consultants Tyréns on their entry. The team has chosen to build upwards, and has designed a 34-storey residential building, which will be seen for miles.

The building will be built over a wooden construction with a concrete core, and it is intended to give the people of Stockholm a new and characteristic beacon and meeting place in their city.

Back to basics

Wood is one of nature's most innovative building materials: the production has no waste products and it binds CO2. Wood has low weight, but is a very strong load-bearing structure compared to its lightness.

Wood is also more fire resistant than both steel and concrete. This is due to 15% of wood mass being water, which will evaporate before the wood actually burns. In addition, logs get charred which protects the core.

Wood secures a good indoor climate, perfect acoustics, helps regulating the inside temperature and can be exposed without being covered with plaster or other costly materials.

In Berg | C.F. Møller's wooden skyscraper, the pillars and beams are made of solid wood. Inside the apartments, all the walls, ceilings and window frames are made of wood as well and will be visible from the exterior through the large windows.

Sustainable

Social and environmental sustainability is integrated into the project. Each apartment will have an energy-saving, glass-covered veranda, while the building itself will be powered by solar panels on the roof. At street level there is a café and childcare facility. In a new community centre, local people will be able to enjoy the benefits of a market square, fitness centre and bicycle storage room. A communal winter garden will provide residents with an opportunity to have allotment gardens.

All three design proposals are available on HSB Stockholm's Facebook page. Here you can vote for your favourite and thus play your part in determining how private homes in Stockholm will look in the future.

About the competition

HSB Stockholm - Sweden's largest building society - is 100 years old in 2023. At that time an ultra-modern residential high-rise building will be completed in Stockholm city. Three architectural teams are now preparing the competitive proposals for the spectacular house that will be placed at one of three different sites in Stockholm.

Berg | C.F. Møller Architects is working together with architects Dinell Johansson and the urban planning consultancy Tyréns. The other two competing teams are Equator Stockholm with Mojang (Minecraft) and Utopia Architects with Rosenberg Architects.

  • Colonel Pancake

    There is a limited supply of wood. An increase in the number of skyscrapers made in wood would immediately drive the price of wood so high as to be not cost effective. Wood’s value is ecological and aesthetic, but its value in the former is predicated on its targeted use for the latter.

    • Andreas

      No. Timber is an abundant, carbon-neutral renewable resource. It is already used extensively in construction in smaller buildings in large parts of the world.

      Providing the forest where the timber is harvested are replanted correctly it really is a very sustainable material for construction. (Oh, and it is surprisingly fireresistant, some species with the same fire-classification as steel and concrete).

      Check the facts (Google: “Wood, wiki”).

      • zizi

        There is no way that replantation can keep pace with the current production of buildings.
        This can work only if it's limited to a small percentage of the building market.

        • jmt

          Respectfully, you are wrong. It is incredibly easy to purchase certified sustainable timber, you just have to pay for it. Here in the US it is called FSC certified wood.

          • zizi

            “certified sustainable timber, you just have to pay for it.” Doesn’t sound like that goes along with mass production (that is replacing the current worldwide stock of concrete and bricks buildings with wooden ones).

            In the US you have a tradition in mass construction of wooden houses and therefore an equilibrium but it’s not like that in the rest of the world. A rapid growth in wood construction would cause problems, that’s for sure.

      • Concerned Citizen

        Wiki is the least reliable piece of information on the internet.

    • Finn

      At least in Finland (and probably in Sweden as well) the annual growth of wood exceeds the amount being harvested by far. So we can increase the use of wood in paper industry and in construction without the risk of unsustainable harvesting.

  • MJVK

    Plans are awful. So much space wasted trying to create that circulation path!

    • mtomny

      Chill. It's just a competition entry at this point. Things evolve.

  • gabriel

    So if I want to take the stairs to enter my flat I have to go through the living room?

    • Gam

      Yes, sort of. The stairs are labelled as fire escape, so they wouldn't be used normally.

  • Tracker

    "Wood is also more fire resistant than both steel and concrete."

    You have to be kidding me right?

    • rem

      It actually is: wood slowly burns for a long time before collapsing, while steel (including the steel inside reinforced concrete) loses most of its structural integrity by 400°C.

      • zizi

        This is true, but we should also mention that wood has a higher probability of catching fire than steel.

  • http://twitter.com/novezeil @novezeil

    White ants’ favourite.

    • Jones

      There are no Termites in Sweden.

  • shmark

    "It is also more fire-resistant than steel or concrete." – Huh?

  • zizi

    Sustainable? Yes, until this is limited to a few hip architects and clients, but what if wooden buildings begin to be mass produced? I don’t think so.

    Yes, wood is more fire resistant than steel, but you go live on the top floor of this building, it will be like sitting on a matchbox.

    • Andreas

      You don't think so? Globally, the dominant use of timber is furniture and construction. While rare for taller structures, timber buildings are already being mass produced.

      • zizi

        Well no, we’re trying to save the rain forests. Imagine if tomorrow everyone begins to build their homes by cutting down trees, really sustainable.

        • sgc

          Rainforests? There are many well-managed sustainable forests all over Europe where more trees are growing than are being cut. And yes, they are already the source of structurally sound building components. The great majority of Americans houses are being built using wood, and it is the same in many parts of Northern Europe.

          • zizi

            Too bad the world doesn't end in the US or northern Europe, 10,000,000 hectares (25 million acres) of rainforest wouldn't be lost every year.

          • sgc

            I bet you very little of the logged wood from rainforests ends up in Scandinavia but I am happy to see figures. As mentioned by someone else there are systems to control the provenance of wood so it is part of the designer’s or purchaser’s ethics to adopt these and state regulations to enforce control.

            We are talking here of a particular project in a particular part of the world. As I said also elsewhere nobody is suggesting this method of construction should be used anywhere and everywhere, an approach to sustainability in particular in construction requires a critical upraisal, not a point blank ‘yes’ or ‘no’ attitude regardless of local and regional conditions.

            The more local and regional options are developped, or ‘re-adopted’ in some cases, to ensure sustainable construction, the better it will be for the planet resources.

          • zizi

            “Nobody is suggesting this method of construction should be used anywhere and everywhere”

            Actually, someone is: “the 34-storey Wooden Skyscraper is presented by architect C. F. Møller, architect Dinell Johansson and consultant Tyréns as a vision of future housing that would be cheaper, easier and more sustainable than typical steel and concrete constructions”.

          • sgc

            Nothing in that extract suggests the architect refers to the rest of the world. Have you interviewed the architect directly yourself? Or are you just basing your information on the Dezeen article? I can’t rely on information taken out of context. I need facts not speculative fearmongering.

        • Andreas

          Zizi, certified timber is not harvested in a rainforest. Also, the biggest driver for rainforest deforestation is agriculture.

          I’m curious; what’s your preferred construction material that meet your sustainable criteria and that can be applied on a large scale?

          • zizi

            Local material is my preference. Wood is okay where it is abundant and there is a tradition in building. For sure wooden building is not okay if you have to harvest and transport wood from one continent to another. That is if countries where there is no wood and no wooden building tradition begins to demand such buildings because they’re fashionable and supposedly “green”.

            It’s just a market rule, that would start a quest for “cheap” wood, and we all know what that would mean.

  • Anders

    “It is also more fire-resistant than steel or concrete.” Thank you! So many seem to think that anything made of wood is a giant bonfire waiting to happen and will probably at some point spontaneously self combust.

    • mtomny

      I get that it's more resistant than steel, but reinforced concrete? That strains credulity.

  • urbane.abuse

    "It is also more fire-resistant than steel or concrete."
    Uhm. Are you sure?

    • jmt

      Yes it is.

  • adrienescoffier

    Trees on the roof, they couldn’t resist!

  • JayCee

    The text does nothing to convince me that high rise is the most efficient and sustainable use for the material. Also, I would be interested to learn about the technology being implemented as there are instrinsic problems with constructing in timber over five or six stories to do with shrinkage and settlement, not to mention cumulative loading, as well as longevity, maintenance, fire-safety and progressive collapse issues.

    • Chris

      A study by BREEAM showed that the average high-rise used around a third less material per-capita than the average two-storey suburban dwelling. So in terms of the most efficient use for the material and the fact that it frees up so much space for further forestry and agriculture, high-rises present the most logical solution to overcrowding and sustainable harvesting of the materials.

  • jay

    Wood more fire resistant than steel and concrete? Maybe with expensive pressure impregnation and a lots of chemical paint on it so it doesn’t catch fire!

  • Gustav

    There are a lot of interesting comments about the supposed sustainability of using wood as a building material that confuse me. Surely you must be kidding, when you doubt the possibility to use wood for construction without depleting the forests. They have been doing so in Sweden for quite a while.

    When it comes to the fire issue it is true that wood is less flammable than thought of but I still doubt that they will be able to get around the Swedish fire regulations that come in to play when you build higher buildings from wood. Undoubtedly a lot of the building’s wood, interior and exterior, will have to be covered up, just look at the Murray Grove example.

    When it comes to the stability issues of shrinkage and settlement, I am pretty sure they are using crosslaminated wood elements. They are pretty much form stable. However I think it would be more efficient (costwise and structurally) to keep the proposed concrete core.

    More than the use of wood I doubt the extensive glazing. Stockholm can get quite cold and windy. The Lacaton & Vassal styled wintergardens generally dont function that well in Sweden.

    So if it is ever built (I doubt it) it will probably not look anything like this.
    But I wish it could..

    • zizi

      In Sweden like in the US you have a tradition so there is a balance. I was pointing out what would happen if this technology catches on in countries where right now buildings are made mainly of concrete and bricks, or in developing countries where the housing stock has to be built from scratch.

      There would be a massive demand of wood and that would be a problem, I doubt there would be enough certified wood available or enough people willing to pay the extra money for it. Right now the black market for wood in Africa and South America is causing unrepairable damage.

  • Concerned Citizen

    In this plan, at least, a great deal of space is taken by the structural system, both vertically and horizontally. The short spans are inefficient for such small spaces to start with.

    Also, it seems the only lateral bracing is two walls at the core. Is that really sufficient? Wood does tend to shrink and expand with variances in the humidity, and the problem is exacerbated by wide temperature swings and the building height.

  • http://www.iancarlsonphotography.com.au ian

    Here is an example of a smaller ten-storey residential wooden building, it is a trend set to expand I think: http://www.smh.com.au/business/lend-lease-going-u

    • zizi

      “23 boutique apartments” – that’s what it is, a trend in fashion. Let’s not talk about sustainability.

  • archreviewer

    While not on the same scale, the Stadthaus in London is an important precedent in the construction of taller building through timber.

    I believe that it is possible to purchase a copy of the engineering calculations by Techniker, which are particularly interesting to understand their approach for disproportionate collapse in such a building.

    Regarding the fire rating of timber, ask any expert and they will all vouch for it. Believe me, they take fire ratings in buildings very seriously so this isn’t something that they would let slide to accommodate a more sustainable building.

    In the Stadthaus, they did manage to construct the lift cores from timber as well.
    34 storeys is considerably taller though so there may be a loss of efficiency when trying to scale components on the lower floors to accommodate the load above.

    To all the naysayers, I would say “Get keen!” This is an interesting approach to building and anything that can change the way we construct should be applauded. It’s not really like that another beautiful skyscraper is just begging to be built on the site that everybody would stand up and applaud.

    I could buy the plans for a twisting spine skyscraper and email them up to Moller and he could make it look beautiful when built. When the project ends up on Dezeen, everybody would just say “it’s been done before. No inspiration. lol”.

  • sgc

    No one is suggesting that wood should be used as a primary structural component all over the world in places where it is not. You really need to check the concept of sustainability if you haven’t grasped that. Wood is abundant and from well managed forests in northern Europe therefore should be considered for all sorts of building there and other places where it is the case.

    The structural and safety aspects of engineered wood have been demonstrated in labs. And there is no comparison whatsoever between its sustainability credentials and that of concrete-based structure. And I am saying that as someone who loves the plastic qualities that concrete can offer and therefore is also following very closely on the development of sustainable concrete.

  • sgc

    I couldn’t disagree more with the comment made about the plans, I think they are great and circulation is a great space to have too. It helps creating a bit of physical and mental distance between occupants of the same building, and stops one feeling one is living in a rabbit hole.

  • http://twitter.com/callumjwhite @callumjwhite

    Local (ish) architects, local materials, local contractors (fingers crossed) building homes for local people. The epitome of sustainability.

  • jmd

    The cynicism running through these posts is ridiculous. A few quick questions: regardless of whether we’re talking about spruces and the various quick-growing species that are available, is the potential for renewable wood stocks more viable than a) cement or b) steel?

    Can you replant limestone and iron ore? Can either of them be harvested without quarrying and massive landscape destruction? So why are people so keen to discount this initiative before it’s even begun? Frankly, it baffles me that people can be so refractory.

    • zizi

      Since we’re talking about an imaginary world where all the wood is renewable, we’re entitled to imagine a world as well imaginary, where all the iron and concrete is recycled.

    • smack

      Thank you. Michael Green’s work establishing the workability of cross-laminated lumber is worth reading in this case. In some areas, and in some economies, this represents a VERY good idea.

  • gerry

    gha: From a structural engineering standpoint one has to be concerned with the low modulus of elasticity timber/wood has to prevent compression and deflection failures for buildings say beyond 10 stories. Unless this building is hung on the concrete core this for sure has to be a problem to deal with over time.

  • MN urbanist

    Um… Fire?