Touchwood! All you need to know about world’s tallest timber building coming up in Switzerland

Named Rocket&Tigerli, the building is the brainchild of Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen. With a timber frame and a timber core, the 100-metre-tall structure aims at being the epitome of sustainability

Touchwood! All you need to know about world's tallest timber building coming up in Switzerland

Rocket&Tigerli will be the world’s tallest all-timber tower at 100 metres and will be ready for residents by 2026. Image Courtesy: Schmidt Hammer Lassen/Facebook

There are the tallest buildings, the thinnest buildings and now there’s going to be the tallest timber tower.

If all goes as planned, Switzerland will soon be home to the world’s tallest timber residential building.

The structure named Rocket&Tigerli aims to surpass the 280-foot-tall Mjøstårnet tower in the Norwegian town of Brumunddal, which currently holds the record of being the tallest timber building after opening in 2019. The 18-storey structure contains apartments, office space and the aptly named Wood Hotel.

We take a closer look at the Swiss project and how it could be a model example of sustainable design.

Inside the tallest timber building

Rocket&Tigerli is the brainchild of Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL).

The project, in the Swiss city of Winterthur, which is located near Zurich, will comprise of four buildings, including one that boasts a 100-metre-tall (328-foot) tower. As per the design, the project will host residential space, student housing, a restaurant, retail spaces, a sky-bar and a hotel.

According to the design, the building will have a mass timber structural core and load-bearing system that was developed in partnership with construction company Implenia and Swiss university ETH Zurich.

Moreover, as per a statement released by the architects, the building will offer modern, high-quality housing with a maximum inflow of daylight.

The company’s press statement also read that it would also seek to create an active neighbourhood that would be “rooted in the area’s historical context”.

For example, the buildings’ exteriors will be clad in red and yellow terracotta bricks with green detailing to reflect and mimic the red roofs and yellow brick of the area’s surrounding buildings.

Kristian Ahlmark, partner and design director at SHL, explained that the company wanted to create a landmark in the Swiss city.

“It is a big project that will have a significant influence on the community, socially as well as aesthetically. Because of the strong expertise Switzerland has, when it comes to building in wood, we are particularly proud to be working on this ground-breaking project,” she said in the company’s press release.

Touchwood All you need to know about worlds tallest timber building coming up in Switzerland

The building being constructed in the Swiss city of Winterthur will be located on the site of a former train factory. Image Courtesy: Schmidt Hammer Lassen/Instagram

Sustainable design

What makes this structure sustainable and could serve as a model for the future is the fact that it will consist of a timber frame and a timber core.

While other timber towers do exist, they are of the hybrid format — which means that they have a concrete core hosting the elevator and staircases.

However, the Rocket&Tigerli structure would be completely made of mass timber.

For the unversed, mass timber, short for massive timber, involves sticking pieces of soft wood — generally conifers like pine, spruce, or fir, but also sometimes deciduous species such as birch, ash, and beech — together to form larger pieces.

The most common and most familiar form of mass timber is the cross-laminated timber (CLT) can match or exceed the performance of concrete and steel. CLT can be used to make floors, walls, ceilings — entire buildings.

It will be interesting to see how the designers reach the height of 100 metres, as engineers, who worked on the currently tallest tower, Mjøstårnet, had to deal with the issue of swaying.

The firm said, “The project marks a milestone in the construction of timber buildings – not solely because of its 100 metres (328 ft), which set the record for residential buildings with a load-bearing timber construction, but also because it introduces an innovative construction system that examines wood as a natural replacement for concrete.”

By using mass timber, the building process will achieve the target of a lower amount of embedded carbon. This means that the structure would be more environmentally-friendly.

However, people excited for this structure will have to wait till 2026, which is when designers say it will be completed and ready for living.

With inputs from agencies

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