Are wooden skyscrapers really viable?

Humans have been building taller and taller structures ever since they adopted a sedentary lifestyle. Today, there are hundreds of skyscrapers around the world, with Hong Kong holding the record at 482 skyscrapers.

Thanks to some rigorous engineering, humans can build structures that reach the clouds. A building of more than ten floors was impractical and practically impossible to construct before the mid-nineteenth century. Advancements in construction technology changed everything.

Now, engineers can now even build wooden skyscrapers. People tend to think these tall wood structures are not quite practical or safe. However, the truth is quite the opposite.

Mass timber advocates argue that these towers are easier to build, stronger, and, perhaps most surprisingly, safer in the event of a fire than current alternatives. Wood is more lightweight and flexible than steel or concrete, making the construction much more cost-effective.

You may be asking yourself β€œWhat type of wood is used in a wooden skyscraper that is safer in the event of a fire?” It is quite normal to question this if you are not familiar with cross-laminated timber, or CLT.

First developed and used in Germany and Austria in the early 1990s, CLT is a wood panel product manufactured by gluing together layers of solid-sawn lumber. If you are curious about the location of wooden towers, how they are built, and what makes CLT so special, make sure to watch our video.


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