I was stumped by their Timber Tower 1, but I am on board with this.
One hundred years ago, many of our buildings were built out of wood; now it’s popular again, not only because they are carbon neutral or positive and are built from a renewable resource, but they also go up faster with fewer workers and fewer truckloads of materials.
Eighty years ago, engineers like Sir Barnes Wallis built airplanes like the Wellington bomber with geodetic “basketweave” airframes because they were strong and light: “The principle is that two geodesic arcs can be drawn to intersect on a curving surface (the fuselage) in a manner that the torsional load on each cancels out that on the other.”
Now PLP architects are blending these two old technologies in their latest tall wood tower, the Oakwood Tower 2 "The Lodge", to be built in the Netherlands. It has an interesting geodetic curved basketweave structure, just like the old Wellington, which should make it lighter and stronger.
This TreeHugger did not hug the Oakwood Tower 1 (model on the left, which I called too much of a wood thing, and was appalled at how they proposed to place it smack in the middle of the courtyard of one of the most wonderful projects in London, the Barbican. I thought that they were just being provocative, as is their wont with projects like their CarTube.
The Oakwood Timber Tower 2, to be built in the Netherlands, is not quite as high and, so far as I can tell, not plopped in such a significant site. There's not a lot of information on it yet, but the video is very interesting, showing the construction sequence and details right down to the fasteners.
PLP partner Kevin Flanagan revealed it in a talk at Sustainable Buildings Canada’s Green Building Festival, noting that Cross Laminated Timber offers the potential for a greater number of wood buildings to be built quickly and economically.
He also noted another reason why he loves wood buildings so much:
We have an affinity for nature and wood. We are calmer and more sociable when nature is in sight. Heart rate goes down and we became more sociable when surrounded by wood; it even promotes healing.
There are many issues that still have to be resolved here. Architects like Waugh Thistleton in London or Acton Ostry in Vancouver cover up the wood with drywall for fire protection, whereas PLP exposes wood inside and exposes the wood structure outside, which is problematic because of moisture. But it is beautiful and provocative imagery.
PLP knows their wood, having built the very long spans at the SKY building out of CLT. So if I was stumped by Timber Tower 1, with this Timber Tower 2 I am definitely on board.