Architects often rely on three primary materials for office buildings: steel, glass, and reinforced concrete.
A new tower in Newark, New Jersey will defy that standard.It will instead be made of wood.
Designed by Michael Green Architecture, the500,000-square-foot structure will be the largest wooden tower in the United States. It will also serve as the centrepiece for Riverfront Square, a huge mixed-use development that will replace the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium as well as the old Lincoln Motel.
Here’s what the new tower will look like:
The building will ascend in three separate step-like sections, rising from six to eight and then 11 stories tall.
New York City-based developer Lotus Equity Group is developing it.
It will anchor Riverfront Square, a 4.8 million-square-foot development that will include retail, outdoor public space, a hotel, office space, parking, and up to 2,000 residential units.
Riverfront Square will be built on the site of the closed Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium, which sold for $US23 million in 2016, according to NJ.com.
The tower will have a concrete foundation, but its walls, floors, columns, and exterior panels will be made of mass timber.
It will boast a roof deck, too.
The choice of wood as a primary material reflects the growing architectural trend of bringing nature into the workplace.
In Seattle, Amazon’s new plant-filled, spherical offices are representative of this trend.
Few wooden towers exist in the US, however. Michael Green Architecture is also behind the world’s tallest wooden building: Brock Commons, an 18-story student dorm at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
In late 2017, construction began on Framework, a 12-story mixed-use building for Portland, Oregon. When complete, it will become the tallest wooden building in the US.
As part of an ongoing project, researchers at Cambridge University, architects at Perkins+Will, and engineers at Thornton Tomasetti are also proposing this timber skyscraper, called the River Beech Tower, in Chicago, Illinois.
The team sees the wooden tower concept as an especially sustainable type of architecture since the material is renewable.
At first glance, a wooden skyscraper seems like it would be a dangerous place during a fire. But generally, mass timber burns very slowly, according to Andy Tsay Jacobs, director of the Building Technology Lab at Perkins+Will.
The material has a thick layer of wood that is “designed to withstand structural loads even after other layers have burned off,” he previously told Business Insider.
Green believes that his latest timber tower could represent the future of sustainable architecture. “Good buildings are good neighbours, and we envision a sustainable, efficient and architecturally stunning future for Newark,” he said in a statement.
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