Log Skyscrapers

Photo by jeff_golden. All rights reserved.

Photo by jeff_golden. All rights reserved.

In a move that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who played with Lincoln Logs as a child, the New York Times reports this week on a major American architecture firm that’s begun designing tall buildings made predominantly out of wood. The firm in question, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, won’t be the first to take such an approach – smaller firms internationally have already begun building taller buildings (the largest is currently 10 stories high and can be found in Melbourne, Australia – building codes here currently restrict wooden buildings over four stories, though it’s likely that will change). But SO&M will bring a lot of domestic publicity to this more environmentally friendly method once the buildings start going up.
So: environmentally friendly how, exactly? According to the Times article and a report from earlier this year put together by the firm themselves, these wooden buildings (which average about 70 percent timber and 30 percent concrete) help reduce CO2 emissions because the wood can hold the carbon, while the production of steel and concrete releases it into the atmosphere. While lumber production in the US has gone down over the last decade (it sunk from 48,732 million board feet to 26 ,057 million between 2006 and 2009, according to a census report, but according to the article, Canada and the US together produce over 60 billion board feet of lumber a year, and the US has a lot of compromised ash borer-affected trees that could be put to good use. Find some more specific info on the firm’s designs here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: