LONDON, UK  - London’s first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality after researchers presented Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, with conceptual plans for an 80-story, 300 meter (980 feet) high wooden building integrated within the Barbican arts and conference center.
Engineering firm Smith and Wallwork says it collaborated with researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture's Dr. Michael Ramage and Rob Foster; and with PLP Architecture's Ron Bakker and Kevin Flanagan to develop research on the future development of tall timber buildings in central London.
Smith and Wallwork carried out structural engineering analysis of a number of different frame concepts using massive timber elements that would see some 65,000 cubic meters of engineered timber support London's first timber skyscraper.
The final design utilized a buttressed mega-truss solution with 2.5 x 2.5 meter timber columns, and 1.75 meter thick timber walls. Despite using significant volumes of timber, the structure would be four times lighter than an equivalent concrete frame tower, according to Smith and Wallwork.
Timber is receiving much renewed interest in construction, perhaps because it is one of few truly renewable construction materials, says Smith & Wallwork. New engineered timber products, such as cross-laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber, are opening up new opportunities for large scale structures that would usually be built out of steel and concrete. 
Smmith & Wallwork also teaches wood engineering to architecture students at the University of Cambridge


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