20120325-085703.jpgWith the failure of the suburban experiment, rising house prices and a greater desire to be in the downtown, designers are looking to stretch the limits of materials, to satisfy changing needs. Added to this, Canadian designers are looking to find ways to use pine beetle infested timber from our forests.

But now, designers are daring to imagine buildings of 20 to 30 storeys held up by nothing more than gargantuan plywood beams. Made possible by new advances in wood technology, they will be fire resistant, earthquake proof, cost-competitive and built in a fraction of the time taken to pour a concrete building. Amid a lagging lumber market and a massive oversupply of trees killed by the mountain pine beetle, architects and developers are already sounding the news: Wood is coming to Canada’s skylines.

National Post – Designers imagine skylines of wood high-rises, made possible by new technology
In Britain, a nine story timber panel building has the following impressive construction statistics:

Constructed entirely of pre-fabricated wood panels, the building was constructed by a team of four workers in only 27 days – and generated no more than a few trash cans of construction waste.

Will Canadian housing markets accept this construction practice for tall buildings? Or will fears of safety Rule the day?

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.