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Tokyo Plans World's Tallest Wooden Skyscraper

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Tokyo will be home to the world’s tallest timber skyscraper by 2041, according to reports, which will also mark the 350th anniversary of Japanese developer Sumitomo Forestry Co. Ltd, the company responsible for the structure.

Sumitomo Forestry has partnered with architectural designers Nikken Sekkei on the 350-meter-tall (1,148 feet) structure, 90 percent of which will be composed of wood.

W350 Project

Dubbed W350 for both the height and the company’s anniversary, the 70-story skyscraper is to be made of both wood and steel, noted CNBC, and include housing offices, hotels, stores and private homes, with balconies wrapped around the entire facade. The structure will also cover 6,500 square meters (close to 70,000 square feet), and 455,000 square meters (4.8 million square feet) in floor space.

The design also factors in concerns regarding earthquakes by implementing a structural system composed of braced tubes made from columns, beams and braces. According to the company, the system is designed to prevent building deformation that may be caused by lateral forces such as wind or earthquakes. Other fire- and earthquake-resistance measures to be used in the building design are not as yet known to the public.

The high-rise concept was created by Sumitomo Forestry’s Tsukuba Research Institute, noted DesignBoom, with the hopes that it would help “transform the city into a forest.”

With that hope, though, comes a steep price tag.

According to CNBC, 180,000 cubic meters of timber is to be used in construction, costing around 600 billion Japanese yen ($5.6 billion)—twice the cost of what it currently takes to build a high-rise.

Sumitomo Forestry noted that the self-supply rate for domestically produced timber is only at 30 percent, and the country’s forests are at risk due to lack of maintenance. Forests cover roughly two-thirds of Japan’s land area.

In 2010, the Act for Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Buildings was enacted, intended to raise awareness of the shift to wooden structures for public buildings, which had previously been restricted to non-wooden structures.

“Wooden construction will increase through the optimal use of the strengths of trees,” said Sumitomo Forestry in a press release. “We will make every effort to further enhance fire and seismic resistance as well as durability, thoroughly reduce construction costs, develop new materials and construction methods, and develop trees that will be used as resources.”

Currently, Abeno Harukas, in Osaka, holds the title of the tallest building in Japan, with the University of British Colombia’s 18-story-tall student housing building claiming the crown for tallest wooden structure in the world.


Tagged categories: AS; Color + Design; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Design; Design build; Renewable raw materials; Wood

Comment from John Gillis, (2/21/2018, 7:03 AM)

What a strange press release. This is just pie-in-the-sky talk, not a real plan. Normally a tall bldg takes 2-5 years to build, but here they are talking about 23 years -- so not very real. Also the at least 200% cost of building it vs. standard steel or concrete construction makes it incredibly uneconomic.

Comment from Trevor Neale, (2/21/2018, 8:41 AM)

Termites in Japan are not unknown so assuming the steel sub structure backbone will be strong enough to support the entire structure if the wood used does not contain an environmentally acceptable treatment to prevent ingress by some wood loving termite specie.

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