Ascent officially certified as “world’s tallest” mass timber hybrid building

Ascent in Milwaukee, US

Ascent, a 86.5m-tall mass timber building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, has officially been crowned as the tallest mass timber hybrid building in the world by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). CTBUH is an international organisation that certifies buildings with the “World’s Tallest” title.

Daniel Safarik, director of research and thought leadership at CTBUH, commented: “Ascent is a very exciting project. It is helping advance the conversation about how we build more sustainable and healthy cities, especially in the face of mass urbanisation and the increasing effects of climate change.”

Ascent broke ground in August 2020, after approximately two years of research, testing, planning and collaboration with external stakeholders. The process brought together specialists from around the world and has established a model for tall timber that may help pave the way for future projects.

“It was a team effort by all,” said Adam Arndt, president of Catalyst Construction, one of the project’s two general contractors. “I’m amazed at our team’s ability to dive in, dig deep and get projects like this done efficiently and strategically. We give credit to our municipality that they did not fear this project and encouraged ingenuity and sustainability; it says a lot about our great city of Milwaukee.”

It is estimated that using mass timber for the structural system decreased construction time by approximately 25%. Ascent was built using a digital “twin” model, so every beam, column and panel could arrive on site ready to assemble, with holes pre-drilled to within 1/16-inch accuracy.

The faster, more precise construction was the icing on the cake for Tim Gokhman, CEO of New Land Enterprises, the firm that co-developed Ascent with partner Wiechmann Enterprises.

“We didn’t set out to break records,” commented Gokhman. “We just wanted to create the best experience within the built environment for our residents. Mass timber is faster, more precise, lighter, more sustainable, more beautiful, and supports our commitment to biophilic design.”

The high rise is a study in biophilic design, a science-backed philosophy that uses natural elements including patterns and textures inspired by nature to create an environment optimal to human performance, wellness and healing.

Ascent welcomed its first residents on 15 Jul 2022, and is currently leasing apartments.