skyscrapers are iconic signifiers of innovation and prosperity in the united states, and yet the extraction of the building materials for steel and concrete has been incredibly harmful to the environment. therefore, the time has come for developers, architects, and policy makers to return to wood. mass timber buildings typically consist of prefabricated components that can easily be assembled by a smaller crew, resulting in a shorter period of time in construction schedule.


view of the 60-story office tower from the south west

 

 

advances in mass timber construction like cross-laminated timber technology has provided the opportunity to create tall wood buildings encouraging the proliferation of the only natural and renewable building material that can sequester CO2.  throughout our history, every significant architectural movement has followed a major structural breakthrough, and american based firm hickok cole architects believes that we are now on the cusp of implementing the next world-changing idea.


view looking west at residential tower and 40 story office tower anchored with a school and topped with condos

 

 

the architectural program of hickok cole’s ‘timber towers’ consists of two office buildings linked by a connecting bridge, as well as a third tower containing residential, school, and ground floor retail, demonstrating the compatibility of mass timber across various uses. the ‘timber towers’ in philadelphia will stand among the landscape of glass and concrete and will showcase the possibilities of building tall skyscrapers with wood.


the structure is all mass timber with CLT columns and cross bracing


a steel/CLT structural system supports the towers, creating impressive tree trunk-like forest of columns


exploded axonometric diagram of the double-skin facade system

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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