Sumitomo Forestry plans world's tallest timber tower

Sumitomo,Forestry,timber building

Japanese timber company Sumitomo Forestry has announced plans to build a 350-metre timber building that will rise head and shoulders above all the world’s wooden structures.

The W350 Plan development commemorates the company’s 350th anniversary. When completed in 2041, it will also stand as Japan’s tallest building and the world’s tallest timber tower.

The 70-storey hybrid wood-and-steel structure will be 90 per cent made of wood, requiring 185,000m3 of timber. It will use a braced tube structure to withstand strong winds and earthquakes. It is estimated to cost 600 billion yen (US$5.5 billion), and will provide spaces for shops, offices, hotels and apartments.

The concept was largely developed by the Tsukuba Research Institute, Sumitomo Forestry’s research and development facility. Sumitomo Forestry is also working with designers Nikken Sekkei for the project.

The company is also accelerating research and exploring future technologies in wood construction, such as building methods, environmentally-friendly technologies, and trees that double up as resources and building materials.

“The W350 Plan aims to create environmentally-friendly and timber-utilising cities where they become forests through increased use of wooden architecture for high-rise buildings,” according to a company press release.

Japan enacted the Act for Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Buildings in 2010 to encourage wood in architecture, especially for public buildings. Previously, wood was not allowed as a structural material. 

The government is also spearheading public and private partnership initiatives to use timber in construction, which will have a positive impact on Japan’s forests – increased timber consumption would promote forest maintenance and act as Japan’s natural carbon sink.

Wooden high-rises are getting taller around the world, with architects pushing for more ambitious designs, such as Vienna’s HoHo Tower, an 84-metre timber tower expected to launch later this year. Tokyo’s new national stadium for the 2020 Olympics Games also utilises wood in the design.