Ascent tops off as “world’s tallest mass timber hybrid tower”: New Land Enterprises

Top-down view of Ascent. (Photo: Korb + Associates Architects)

In mid-December 2021, the final mass timber beams, columns and cross-laminated timber (CLT) roof were set into place at downtown Milwaukee’s Ascent construction site. As of now, Ascent has reached 284ft, or roughly 86.5m, and will officially become the world’s tallest mass timber hybrid tower this summer, according to New Land Enterprises, the real estate development and property management company behind Ascent.

Ascent, a mass timber structure in Milwaukee, US, broke ground at the intersection of Kilbourn and Van Buren in August 2020, with timber construction commencing in June 2021. Six months later, general contractor C.D. Smith Construction topped off the innovative tower at 25 storeys. The construction process used prefabricated columns and beams with factory integrated connectors, making the construction process approximately 25% faster.

“Today is the culmination of years of determination and innovation for New Land and our partners,” commented Tim Gokhman, managing director of New Land Enterprises. “Together, we’ve shown that we can build a more beautiful, sustainable and precise building faster, paving the way to transform development in the United States. The crews involved in construction have done an amazing job and should be very proud of today’s milestone.”

New Land Enterprises didn’t set out to break the world record when the project began more than three years ago, but after a number of design revisions the height of the tower climbed four feet taller than the current record holder in Norway.

“This continues to be a job of amazing scale as we top off the building and proceed with the buildout,” said Chris Johansen, C.D. Smith Construction, project manager. “We have a veteran-led team of talented craftsmen that really took ownership and are always looking for ways to build faster, smarter, safer.”

To this point, Ascent’s construction has involved more than 13,000 man hours for timber installation, using 335,554sqft of CLT panels, 1,149 columns, 1,365 beams, 645,000 fasteners, and 122,000 screws.

With timber installation complete and glazing mostly up, the project is already moving into its final phase of interior buildout. The building’s 259 luxury apartment homes will feature ]exposed timber ceilings and columns, finishes and appointed fixtures. Ascent will also offer amenities including an indoor and outdoor seventh floor pool, a rooftop cinema, a golf simulator, and fitness center. It is scheduled to open in Summer 2022.