The tallest mass timber building in the world has opened
In mid-July, the tallest mass timber building in the world opened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It stole the top spot from the Mjösa Tower in Brumunddal, Norway.
The building, known as Ascent and designed by Korb + Associates Architects, is 86.5 metres, or 25 storeys, high.
It is mixed use, being made up of 259 luxury apartments, plus a wealth of future-conscious amenities. These include work stations, electric car chargers, a golf simulator, a community bar and kitchen, and outdoor terraces on the 25th floor. Perhaps most importantly, there’s also a park and grooming spa dedicated to pups.
However, unlike most buildings of a similar size, Ascent was built mainly with mass timber. That is, a system of beams, columns and floors made with laminated timber sourced from sustainable forests in Austria.
Some concrete and steel were involved, but only where strictly necessary; for example, in the foundations, pool, stairs and lifts.
Why the planet is happy
On top of being made with sustainable material, Ascent acts like a forest of trees. It absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—at a rate equivalent to removing around 2,400 cars from the road each year, says architect Jason Korb.
Plus, there are benefits for residents. Being surrounded by timber reduces tension and fatigue while helping our nervous, respiratory and visual systems, according to this study. That’s because we humans have an inherent desire to see and feel nature around us—no matter how inner citified we might seem.
- Ascent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is, at 86.5 metres, the world’s tallest mass timber building. It contains 259 apartments plus a wealth of amenities.
- There’s a growing market for mass timber construction. Until recently, it has been the most popular in Europe. However, there are now more than 1,500 such buildings in progress in the United States. Plus, in February 2022, the Australian Government announced the Timber Building Program, which will see a $300 million investment in mass timber construction in Australia. A boom could be on the horizon.
- Mass timber buildings could be a game changer for the environment, given that construction is responsible for 39% of carbon dioxide emissions globally.
- Clients are becoming, not only more eco-conscious, but also more health-conscious. Timber interiors can boost health by reducing tension and fatigue because they fulfil our inherent desire to be surrounded by nature.
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