Chicago’s proposed River Beech Tower would be the world’s first supertall building made of wood. It’s definitely the most dramatic example, yet high-rise wooden structures are cropping up all over the place, due to new, strong, cross-laminated timber, which rivals strength of steel.
Before you fret over their strength, realize that these structures have been thoroughly tested, and their fire-resistance is far greater than you would expect. Their environmental properties are also attractive, in that wood acts like a locker for carbon dioxide, sequestering excess CO2 from the air. Precision CNC gives engineers the ability to create wooden modules that snap together like LEGO, speeding up the build of these structures. A recent 18-story high-rise in Vancouver, B.C. was made from wood, and currently holds the record for tallest in the world.
But River Beech Tower would far exceed that, with a proposed 80-story design, and an elegant form that would bring a fresh and modern look to Chicago’s skyline. The future looks to be made of trees, after all. Read more on Wired: