Architecture powerhouse Perkins+Will has proposed an 80-story wood skyscraper for the Chicago waterfront, according to Curbed Chicago.
The firm said the 300-unit River Beech Tower — which would be the tallest wooden high-rise in the world if completed — would include a center atrium and an aluminum veneer over a lattice of wood beams. The firm did not disclose an estimated cost.
- Because Perkins+Will is also the designer behind the $1.5 billion Riverline project, a 14-acre Lendlease-CMK Companies development along the Chicago River, it is widely anticipated that the River Beech Tower would be part of that project.
Crews broke ground on a residential building at the Riverline in September, the first of eight towers that developers said will offer a total of 3,600 for-sale and for-rent units. Some industry watchers believe that if the River Beech Tower plan comes to fruition, it could replace one of those high-rises.
While the Perkins+Will all-wood tower would be a unique addition to the Chicago skyline, the company is not alone in pushing the envelope in the construction of all-wood buildings.
On the boards are plans for at least two major wood skyscrapers — one in Stockholm and one in London's Barbican housing estate. PLP Architecture and a team from the University of Cambridge have proposed an 80-story, 984-foot timber residential tower that would claim the title of second-tallest building in London. In Sweden, Anders Berensson Architects also has designed a wood residential high-rise, in this case measuring 436 feet and 40 stories tall. Commissioned by a local political party in order to help address the lack of affordable housing in Stockholm, the proposed design for the 250-unit, cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure features a timber screen. In an April interview, Anders Berensson told Dezeen that he also wanted to feature CLT to showcase Sweden's wood industry.
Other significant timber projects have already been completed or are currently underway. The tallest wood building today is the 18-story Brock Commons residence hall at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. The $39-million high-rise will be able to accommodate 400 students when it is complete in September 2017. Additionally, this month crews began construction on a 275-foot-tall, 24-story commercial skyscraper in Vienna. Like Brock Commons, designers used stabilizing concrete at the building's core and foundation.