The University of British Columbia has expressed its interest to build a wood-based high-rise tower between 16 to 18 storeys at its Point Grey campus in Vancouver. At a height of 53 metres, it will be the world’s tallest wooden building of its kind, vancitybuzz.com says. In this respect, the university has issued an Express of Interest to architectural companies for the design of the building.
As in the case of other tall wood buildings, the new structure will be build out of laminated lumber beams, that are glued together under pressure. 'The mixed-use student housing wooden tower will include new academic space, up to 400 beds for upper year and graduate students, and student amenities – all in a floor area of 157,000 square feet,' vancitybuzz.com reports.
At the moment, the tallest wood building in the world is a is a 10-storey, 32-metre tall apartment complex in Melbourne, Australia. A 14-storey, 51-meter tall wooden building is currently under construction in Bergen, near Oslo/Norway. Also other countries such as Sweden and Austria have expressed their interest to build tall wooden buildings.
Proponents of tall wood buildings claim that while a wooden tower may appear to be a fire hazard, such structures are in fact safer than steel as charred wooden surfaces protect the structural wood underneath whereas steel structures are weakest at the points of where it supports a post. While wooden structures are common for low-rises, it is a highly uncommon form for taller buildings.
Back in 2012, a Canadian architect, Michael Green, tried to demonstrate that wood is a viable material for tall and large buildings, and unveiled a conceptual design of a 30-storey wooden building as part of a feasibility study.