Japanese architecture, Skyscrapers, Sumitomo Forestry, Timber architecture, W350

Sumitomo Forestry to build the world’s tallest timber skyscraper in Tokyo

Sumitomo Forestry, the Japanese timber company, part of one of Japan’s largest conglomerates, has proposed a 70-storey hybrid timber skyscraper to celebrate the company’s 350th anniversary in 2041. What looks set to be the world’s tallest wooden building in Tokyo, the 350m skyscraper called the W350, will also be the tallest in Japan.

Designed by Sumitomo’s Tsukuba Research Laboratory in collaboration with Tokyo practice Nikken Sekkei, 90% of the building is expected to be made up of timber – using up to 185,000 cubic metres of wood in its construction.

The building, estimated to cost around us$5.9bn, would use a “braced tube structure” with columns and beams made from steel and timber, supplemented by additional diagonal steel braces. The mixed-use tower will feature a hotel, residential units, offices, and shops, which will be wrapped in large balconies covered in plants.

An official release by the Sumitomo Forestry says: “The aim is to create an environmentally-friendly and timber-utilising cities where they become forests through increased use of wooden architecture for high-rise buildings. The greenery connects from the ground to the top floors through the balcony part, and it offers a view of biodiversity in an urban setting. The interior structure is of a pure wood, producing a calm space that exudes the warmth and gentleness of wood.”

Traditionally, buildings in Japan used to constructed out of timber, until fire risk reduced the practice. However, the 2020 Olympics stadium in Tokyo by Kengo Kuma will make major use of timber.

Similar timber high-rise structure are also being planned in London and Toronto.

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