The Highest Residential Building in the World Made of Wood

A new 100 metre-high residential building is planned to be built in Winterthur by 2026. Thanks to a new type of timber construction, it will be the tallest wooden residential building in the world.

Where once locomotives were manufactured, a new urban district is being created in the heart of Winterthur. According to the project owners, the flagship of the new urban quarter called Lokstadt is a 100 metre-high residential building that will be constructed almost entirely of wood. It is the winning project of a study commission in which renowned architectural firms from all over the world participated. The project, on which the new wooden structure is based, was designed by a team of architects from Copenhagen together with architects from Lucerne. The tower called the Rocket will accommodate 255 apartments, many of them for students and non-profit housing, and is planned to be realised on 32 floors.

New type of timber construction

The high-rise building is based on a new type of timber construction that researchers at ETH Zurich helped to develop. The tube-in-tube approach is based on a vertical column in the core and an outer frame structure made of laminated beech veneer lumber. The real innovation lies in the wood-concrete composite floor, which is no thicker than a reinforced concrete floor, yet is stable and allows spans of up to nine metres, explains the project owner. Thanks to this technology the building is not dependent on a reinforced concrete core. The first use of this new construction method is scheduled for the 80 metre-high Project Pi in Zug, with completion expected in 2024.

Taller than anything before

According to the press release, the Rocket is the world’s tallest wooden residential building currently being planned. A superlative that refers to the classification of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, where different types of high-rise buildings are compared. The Rocket, thanks to its supporting structure, would fall under the timber structures category. And there, apparently, the 18-storey Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway, is currently the tallest wooden residential building. It was inaugurated in 2019 and is 85.4 metres high.

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