Vancouver-based real estate developer PortLiving and world-renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban have unveiled plans for an upcoming hybrid timber structure said to be the tallest in the world. If so, this would mean it will be higher than other CLT wood structures, such as the 34-story design planned for Stockholm.

The residential high-rise Terrace house, which will be located in Vancouver’s Coal Harbor neighborhood, may set a new standard for urban luxury in design, sustainability and engineering innovation. The high-rise will feature a cross-laminated timber frame supported by a concrete and steel core. Wood for the project will be locally sourced from British Columbia, minimizing its carbon footprint.


Cross-laminated timber construction in Seattle stirs concrete mixer concerns

Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has expressed concern with the use of CLT in construction. 

Cross-laminated timber has been gaining popularity as of late, due to its lightness, sustainability, and ease of use. Planks of timber are glued and orientated at 90 degrees to each other, and are then crosslaid in layers. Those pieces are then shipped to construction sites and can be assembled by just a few workers, even for large buildings.

Its use in tall wooden buildings has also been growing. London, Stockholm, and Quebec are just a few of the cities who either already have large timber towers or have one in the works. Recent plans include a Swedish firm's 436 ft. residential wood skyscraper in Stockholm, while a 12-story mixed wood high-rise is planned for construction in Portland, Oregon. 

Building codes are being adjusted in Oregon and Washington State to permit the tall wood structures. But CLT hasn’t gone without opposition.

Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, has expressed its concern over the use of CLT in construction.

The group says extreme caution should be used with timber due to its prone to fire, termites, earthquakes, and humidity.  Concrete makers, who would see their material displaced by wood, say that sufficient testing has not taken place to verify CLT’s durability and strength. 

PortLiving says it will release more details about Terrace House later this year.

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