The New York City-based architecture firm DFA Studio recently turned in a proposal for an observation tower made of wood. If built, the structure would be the tallest timber tower in the world, and would offer great views of NYC from its location in Central Park. In addition to that, it would also be used to filter the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in the park, turning it into a freshwater pond which everyone could use.
The Central Park Tower, as it is named, would be made using mainly Glulam (glue-laminated timber). Structurally, it would feature a steel core, a complex wooden helix that would be wrapped in timber lattice, and a transparent PVC skin. It would be anchored on a concrete base with stabilizing cables. The tower would be 712 ft (217 m) high and would house shops and restaurants. Atop it, there would be an observation deck that will offer 360-degree views of the cityscape.
The tower would also have an integrated filtration system that would clean the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (also known as the Central Park Reservoir). Once the filtration process is complete, the reservoir would become a pond to be used for swimming, sailing and other water activities. Currently this reservoir sits stagnant and fenced off, and is considered a health threat to millions of New Yorkers, tourists and animals.
The filtration system would be housed in the steel core in the lower part of the tower. The needed power to run it would be great, but it would be all provided by a vertical axis wind turbine integrated into the tower. There are no figures to back up this claim as of yet.
The tower would be built using prefabricated construction methods, so DFA Studio believes that it could be completed in about six months. They also describe it as a “temporary” structure, so it would most likely have a limited lifespan. We’ll have to wait and see if this proposal ever gets realized.
Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has unveiled plans for what he is calling the world’s tallest hybrid timber tower. The mixed-use building is called Terrace House and will be built in Vancouver, BC. To construct it, they will use timber, glass, steel and concrete.
The Terrace House will contain 20 homes, with additional retail space on the ground floor, as well as a three floor underground garage. Local developer PortLiving will be in charge of the construction. The designers also made sure that the complex will blend in well with the surrounding structures, especially the adjacent Evergreen Building. In an effort to achieve this, the terraces of the new building will align perfectly with those of the Evergreen Building.
Terrace house will, as the name implies, feature many greenery-covered terraces. The first 12 floors of the building will feature a concrete and steel frame, and the remaining 7 will have a timber exterior, as well as timber floor plates, with a steel and concrete core to meet the local earthquake safety codes. All the timber will be sourced locally in British Columbia.
Judging by the renders, the homes will feature lots of glazing, which means ample amounts of light, but also raises some privacy concerns. Especially since the building is close to, and so well aligned with the adjacent one.
They have not yet announced when construction will begin, but PortLiving will be releasing further details on the project in the next few months. It’s definitely nice to see designers, and city planning commissions, start to incorporate more sustainable materials into the projects that get the green light. Hopefully, this complex will also have other sustainable features, apart from the green façade and the use of wood in construction.
Building wooden skyscrapers seems to be gaining in popularity, and now one is going up in Amsterdam. The so-called Haut tower was designed by the Dutch firm Team V Architecture and they plan to begin construction in the later part of 2017.
The skyscraper will measure 240 ft (73 m) in height and have 21 floors. It will be a luxury apartment complex, and Haut actually stands for Haute Couture. Occupants will have lots of options to choose from for their apartments, including the layout, number of balconies (if any) placement of double-height spaces and more. The tower will have 55 units, as well as an underground garage, a bicycle storage area, and a garden, which will also be open to the public. The tower is actually part of a larger housing development project in Amstelkwartier, which will feature around 4,000 new residential units, as well as commercial and retail areas.
Judging from the renders, the apartments will be open plan, with lots of windows to let in plenty of light and offer great views. It will be built out of prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels, which were chosen for their strength, durability, and ease of assembly. They’re also very fire resistant.
The tower will also boast of a number of sustainable features, such as a wastewater purification system and something the designers call “energy-generating facades”. These will either feature solar panels or wind turbines. They are aiming for a BREEAM Outstanding rating, which is the top rating when it comes to green building.
The Haut tower will certainly be the tallest timber skyscraper in the Netherlands and quite possibly the world, for the time being. Though others could steal that title, since it won’t be completed until 2019.