Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry, a timber and construction products company, plans to build a 70-story wooden skyscraper in Tokyo. 90 percent of the building dubbed the “W350 Project”, will be wood, and the remaining 10 percent steel and will withstand the frequent earthquakes that plague the area.
“The aim is to create an environmentally-friendly cities where they become forests through increased use of wooden architecture for high-rise buildings,” the comapy said in a statment.
The tower will include, according to plan, offices, shops, hotel and residential apartments. Balconies will surround the building from all four sides, and it will be covered with vegetation from the ground up to the top floor and the roof.
“The internal structure will be made entirely of wood, and will create a calm space resulting from the warmth and gentleness of the wood,” Sumitomo said.
The cost of the project – which will require 185,000 cubic meters of wood – is estimated at 600 billion yen ($5.6 billion), which is double the cost of a conventional high-rise building constructed, of the same size, with current technology.
However, it is possible that in the end, the costs will be lower thanks to technological progress from now until 2041, the planned date for completion of the W350 project, which is slated to open to mark the 350th anniversary of the Sumitomo Corporation, founded in 1691.
Tall wooden structures already exist around the world, ranging from an 18-story office tower in Minneapolis to a British Columbia University student dormitory building in Vancouver, Canada, which is 53 meters high and now holds the world’s tallest wooden structure.
At the same time, the city of Chicago is considering a plan to build a wooden skyscraper at a height of 244 meters.