America's First Wooden Skyscraper
A design for the United State's first wooden skyscraper, called Framework, has been approved for construction in Portland, Oregon — although, contractors are still awaiting building permits before construction can start. The structure will be 90,000 square feet and 12 stories tall (43 meters high). The concept for the building aims to rejuvenate the Portland timber industry, as well as provide affordable housing: apartment units will be reserved for those below 60 percent of area median family income.
Although the main material used in the building will be cross laminated timber (CLT), it will also include Aluminum Composite Material — board formed concrete and aluminum curtain wall. Framework will join Albina Yard and Carbon12, two additional large scale wooden structures planned for development in the city of Portland.
Why are Wooden Skyscrapers Good?
Building out of wood may seem antiquated to some, but the material — particularly in its CLT form, which is new in the U.S — is undergoing a renaissance due to its capacity to be as strong as steel.
Creating structures from wood is a promising avenue for the environmental sector, as it doesn't create a flurry of carbon emissions: designers hope that the building has the potential to set a precedent as a carbon-neutral project.
As Lever Architecture's website aptly states: "Framework is part of a mutually beneficial cycle between natural resources, the rural timber industries that rely on these resources, and the cities served by the completion of these buildings." If the building's construction is a success, it will be a shining example of the beautiful combination of material and form that wooden architecture is capable of.