As London expands, the need for new, innovative, housing solutions increases. But rather than build yet another concrete and steel behemoth, a group of London architects are developing a new kind of skyscraper: one made out of wood.

Last week, researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture presented plans for an 80-story wooden skyscraper to London Mayor Boris Johnson. The skyscraper would use sustainable wood grown in so-called “crop forests” as one of its primary building materials. The idea, explain researchers, is to create a skyscraper from renewable resources and reduce construction costs.

The project is extremely ambitious: Currently, the world’s tallest timber building—an apartment block in Norway—is a mere 14 stories tall. However, the research team is extremely optimistic. They believe their design will be architecturally elegant, as well as safer and more fireproof than many other structures in London.

“If London is going to survive it needs to increasingly densify. One way is taller buildings. We believe people have a greater affinity for taller buildings in natural materials rather than steel and concrete towers,” says researcher Michael Ramage. “The fundamental premise is that timber and other natural materials are vastly underused and we don’t give them nearly enough credit. Nearly every historic building, from King’s College Chapel to Westminster Hall, has made extensive use of timber.”



All Images Courtesy of Cambridge University