I have mentioned the Forte´ timber tower before in the slideshow Wood Construction Scales Up, Gets Gorgeous, and carelessly placed it in New Zealand when it is actually in Australia. Now that it is complete, it's time to have another look at the building and get the story right.
Lend Lease, a giant Australian developer, has built what they call the world's tallest timber apartment building at Victoria Harbour in Melbourne. It's made of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) which has been touted on TreeHugger a lot. As architect Alex de Rijke put it, the 18th century was about brick, the 19th about steel, the 20th about concrete, and the 21st century is about wood.
Not any timber; not European oak, South American iroko or North American tulipwood, but fast growing softwoods, planted for laminating into large structural profiles.... A ton of steel produces 1,5 tons of carbon in the making. A ton of cement 1,125 tons. And they aren’t as interesting, as versatile, as expressive. A tree produces oxygen, and absorbs 1,42 tons of carbon for every ton of timber grown. There is no downside to timber construction; only the obligation to plant three times more trees than are cut in order to mitigate climate change and have something to build with later.
According to Lend Lease, quoted in Building Products News, the building was 30% faster to build, had less construction traffic, caused less disruption and less waste.
Lend Lease manager Andrew Nieland reflected on the building in Construction Source:
Commercially speaking, the biggest thing is speed. With it being pre-fabricated, all of the main penetrations were already taken care of, and fixing into timber is a lot easier than fixing into concrete, so for the electricians, plumbers, plasterers and others, it’s a lot easier job [working with a CLT structure] than working with concrete.
There are a lot of other green features going on in this building, in what is perhaps the most thorough presentation of green marketing I have seen yet. You can spend all day going through its sustainability explorer, looking at the neighbourhood, the building and the apartments for all of their features. They don't just talk about carbon either, but get that there is a bigger world of community, economy, health and wellbeing.
I could list them all here, but the interactive website is thorough and very impressive. Check it out at Forte Living