Milwaukee takes tallest timber high-rise title
Ascent's timber exterior

The Ascent, Milwaukee's, and the world's, tallest timber high rise under construction in 2021. Tenants have started to move into the building,

MILWAUKEE--The results are in, and Milwaukee can now claim to be the home of the world's tallest timber building at 284 feet, which beats the current record holder in height by 4 feet.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has designated the Ascent, a 284-feet-tall, 488,000-square-foot residential building in Milwaukee as the world’s tallest timber and concrete hybrid structure.

The $125 million building features a hybrid timber and concrete frame. It was developed by New Land Enterprises and Wiechman Enterprises. 

Construction of Ascent, designed by Korb + Associates Architects, began in August 2020. The first tenants began moving into the first half of the building on July 15, 2022. The second half of the building is expected to be finished at the end of August.

Ascent was built by C.D. Smith and Catalyst Construction using a heavily detailed digital twin that allowed for every beam, column and panel to arrive on site ready to assemble, with holes predrilled to within 1/16-in. accuracy.

Wiehag's mass timber panels
Glulam timber were pre-fabricated to a 1/16" accuracy and assembled on-site in Milwaukee.

The 19 floors of wood-framed residential space, which sit on a six-story structural concrete parking podium, contain just over 80,000 cu ft of glue-laminated timber fabricated into 1,150 glulam columns in 17 different sizes and 1,320 glulam beams in 50 sizes with 36 different lengths. Ascent also contains 336,000 sq ft of cross-laminated timber (CLT).


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).