Published 3 April 2011
An article on The Mark website (a Canadian daily online forum), picked up by Planetizen, asked: “Are wooden skyscrapers in our future?”
First, despite use of the word “skyscrapers”, they’re not talking towers with double-digit storey numbers, but perhaps 6 floors.
The article by Toronto University architecture professor Larry Richards and McGill School of Architecture director & professor Avi Friedman, both architects, posed a cautious question from Professor Richards: “An opportunity for innovation: In architecture, engineering & forestry sectors around the world, there is a mega-buzz about forthcoming highrise towers made of wood…. The earliest ventures in this direction started in Japan a decade ago. But numerous projects are now also on the drawing boards in Austria, Norway, Australia & Canada.”
Professor Friendman followed up with “A question of safety – and courage: Innovation is good, but it needs to be tested.” And there he found a difficulty: “Municipalities & municipal officials need to take risks. And, from my experience, they are the least likely to do so. Once city officials have given permission for architects to build something, they are, to some degree, held liable if something goes wrong. This is one of the largest obstacles to architectural innovation.”
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Attribution: Planetizen, The Mark, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.