Norwegian contractor building ‘world’s tallest timber building’


Norwegian timber specialist Moelven has announced that it is building an 80m-tall mixed-use building in its home town of Brumunddal, about 100km north of Oslo.

Moelven says its building, the Mjøstårnet, will be the tallest all-timber tower in the world, arguing that a taller, hybrid tower in Vienna cannot claim the title.

The Mjøstårnet will be 30m higher than The Tree in the Norwegian city of Bergen, which presently has the title of the tallest all-timber building, and 28m higher than 5 King Street in Brisbane, which is due to become the world’s tallest when complete next year, and the 73m-tall HAUT in Amsterdam (see further reading).

The Tall Wood Residence at the University of Vancouver is 53m high, but this height does include some concrete in its podium and lift cores.

Moelven dismissed any claims from the unfinished 84m HoHo-tower in Vienna, designed by RLP Rüdiger Lainer + Partner.

Rune Abrahamsen, a director of Moelven, said: “For a start, Hoho is not a timber building according to how the definition of this will be. It’s a wood-concrete-hybrid. Secondly, the building will not be completed until a month after Mjøstårnet is completed. But the latter is a moot point if the first is correct. And there is little doubt that this will be the case.”

The Mjøstårnet will be erected next to Lake Mjøsa, the country’s largest. Its 18 floors will include apartments, an indoor swimming pool, a hotel, offices, a restaurant and communal areas.

Arthur Buchardt, the client for the project, said in a press statement: “Mjøstårnet sets new standards for timber constructions. The building is the closest we’ve come to a skyscraper in timber.”

He added: “The assembly and construction of the Mjøstårnet is nothing short of world-class engineering, and will be managed without external scaffolding, despite the complexity of working at heights. We are primarily using cranes and supplementing with lifts as needed. We have reached 33m to date, meaning we have 48 to go.”

Buchardt argues that the forms of wood such as cross-laminate timber will take over from concrete in the same way as electric vehicles look likely to eat into the market for petrol and diesel cars, and for the same reasons: wood reduces the carbon footprint of a building’s materials by 30%.

He said: “In 15 years’ time I believe it will be illegal to produce and sell cars that run on fossil fuels. Similarly, I expect that climate-friendly materials will become an international statutory standard.”

Moelven is supplying timber for the project from a local spruce forests. Construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2018.


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