How the plyscraper could transform our cityscapes

Wooden window frames have been with us for hundreds of years. Skyscrapers have been around for the last two hundred years. Imagine if you combined the two: you would have what is known as a plyscraper. As the name suggests, it is an all-wooden skyscraper, tower block or office block. Ultra-strong wood materials are increasingly being used for bigger structures ahead of steel and concrete.

One example is the Toothpick Tower in central London. London’s first plyscraper would overlook the banks of the River Thames. Situated in the Barbican complex, it will be 300 metres tall, have 80 storeys, and space for 1,000 residences.

Backers of plyscrapers say timber framed skyscrapers are more environmentally friendly than steel and concrete counterparts. So long as the timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests. The construction of steel and concrete structures emit more greenhouse gases than wooden buildings.

At present, the tallest wooden building in the world is the Tree, a fourteen storey plyscraper in Bergen, Norway. By the end of this decade, London’s Toothpick Tower will have broken that record at 300 metres tall.

The Tree in Bergen isn’t entirely made from wooden frames. It is also supported with concrete floors. This ensures the building’s stability, especially in strong winds and stormy conditions.

Barbican plyscraper location. Image by Alex Bonney (via Shutterstock).

The legendary River Thames skyline: on the right of St. Paul’s Cathedral next to the Barbican tower will be the Toothpick tower, London’s future plyscraper. Image by Alex Bonney (via Shutterstock).

Chartwell Wooden Windows, 23 February 2017.

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