Sumitomo Forestry has proposed to develop a 70-storey environmentally-friendly wooden skyscraper in conjunction with the company’s 350th anniversary in 2041.
The planned structure, in collaboration with renowned architect Nikken Sekkei, is a timber and steel hybrid skyscraper made from 90 per cent wooden materials. The wooden high-rise building is designed to reach 70 floors above ground level at a maximum height of 350 metres, making it Japan’s highest building. Named W350, it would also become the world’s tallest timber building, overtaking Canada’s 18-storey Brock Commons Student Residence.
The total construction cost of this hybrid skyscraper is estimated at 600 billion yen (roughly AU $7.44 billion), which is twice the average cost for a conventional skyscraper that size. The multi-use building will be used for residential and commercial purposes such as stores, offices, and hotels.
The increased timber demand for this massive project is set to promote the revitalisation of forestry and replanting in the local community. Green balconies will populate the skyscraper’s exterior.
“The aim is to create environmentally-friendly and timber-utilising cities that become forests through increased use of wooden architecture for high-rise buildings,” said a statement from Sumitomo Forestry. ‘
Since wood stores carbon, rather than emitting it back into the atmosphere, the building won’t be leaving a carbon footprint.
Sumitomo Forestry also mentioned that “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”.
The timber company has been working on expanding possibilities for wooden buildings as a roadmap for future technology for years, aiming to reduce global environmental burden. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a fire-resistant building material that will be used throughout the project to enable structural integrity.
The Japanese government is also an advocate for wooden buildings, passing a law in 2010 requiring all public buildings of three-storeys or less to be constructed with timber.