France’s first attempt with high-rise wood will be in Bordeaux

France will have its first two wooden high-rise developed in the city centre of Bordeaux by 2020.

57m (18-storey) Hypérion will be a residential apartment that will house 82 units when complete. The project team consists Eiffage, specialist wood contractor Woodeum, Clairsienne and architect Jean-Paul Viguier & Associés. Work is expected to commence in September 2017.

The 50m ‘Silva’ office tower will be built by French developer Kaufman & Broad and local architect Art & Build. 80% of the building will be made from French cross-laminated timber (CLT) with glulam plywood bracing.

Both designs were chosen in an open competition held by Bordeaux Euratlantique, judged by a jury chaired by city mayor and former prime minister of France, Alain Juppé.

Using CLT as a building material has won praise from the industry for its efficiency and low-carbon footprint. Pre-fabricated panels are easy to assemble on-site, reducing the amount of energy required and disruption to the surrounding community. CLT utilises very little glue, limiting toxic emissions of volatile organic compounds.

In an interview, president of Woodeum Guillaume Poitrinal defended the combustible properties of wood.

He said, “Wood of this type is as good at resisting fire as concrete. Concrete doesn’t burn, but it may collapse at high temperatures, and although wood is combustible, the more massive it is, the more slowly it burns. The CLT we use is very solid: the first flame does not appear until 400°C.”


Image: Artist’s impression of Silva/ Photo Credit: Art & Build