KIRKENES, NORWAY - The world's tallest wooden building, a 16-story  multi-use structure built of natural materials using innovative wood design, is slated to be built in Kirkenes, Norway, on the border with Russia. Occupancy is expected in 2014

Norway expects the building to become a global landmark, and that its construction will develop new large-scale wood construction techniques and create markets for Norwegian lumber. Norway produced over $500 million in roundtree wood last year. Norway's forest industries overall totalled $7.3 billion.

"That we also build in wood is a unique symbol of the pervasive green profile. The innovative solutions to modern wood architecture should stand as a sign of the level of expertise in the region," saids architect Reiulf Ramstad in an announcement from Norway's Agriculture Ministry about the initiative.

The Barents building, named after the region in which it will be located, will house a library, theater, arts center and government offices - in total about 90,000 square feet, according to architect Reiulf Ramstad. The construction will employ prefabricated wood panel modules.

"There will be no problem filling the building," say Norway Secretary General Rune Rafaelsen.

Commercial structures and tall buildings made from CLT (cross-laminated timber) have been gaining attention. A nine-story London apartment building used CLT wood panels, which eliminates studs and framing in favor of thick sandwiches of plywood panel bolted together with metal connectors.

The Canadian Government and several Provincial Governments have launched WoodWORKS!, supporting research and development in non-residential applications of wood building construction and engineering.

The first U.S. building constructed with cross laminated timber (CLT)—The Long Hall in Whitefish, MT -  will be the subject of a webcast by WoodWORKS! this month. Project engineer Darryl Byle will discuss the design and construction process, as well as the building code challenges associated with being among the first in North America to use CLT and will share the results of a cost analysis that compares CLT to concrete masonry units.

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