The Oakwood Timber Tower Series: Vision for a More Livable Greener City

Austin Relton
Architect
Foster + Partners, Abu Dhabi

The Oakwood Timber Tower Series is a collaborative research with University of Cambridge and Smith and Wallwork Engineers investigating this new natural timber material in urban high-rise construction. Engineered mass timber/cross-laminated timber (CLT) envisions a city that results from human ingenuity meeting the challenges of the 21st Century. A material and method of construction ideally suited to accommodate the projected doubling of population in world cities, this light and strong renewable material easily integrates the emerging benefits of AI, Block-chain procurement and efficiencies in cost and time of robotic jump factories. Faster, cheaper, safer, healthier, and less disruptive in local urban neighborhoods, clients can build 20–30 percent more area within a fixed planning timeline.

Street trees, urban greenscapes, and timber buildings befit a healthier and happier urban lifestyle, boosting a sense of positive well-being. The Paris Accord targets are met with a “Go Negative” CO2 strategy featuring timber towers, creating an ethical basis for urban living. Enriching air the timber draws in carbon as it grows while naturally sequestering/storing CO2.

Being some 50 percent carbon, the timber panels carbonize in combustion with the outer char layer protecting the inner heart. Buildings exceed existing fire regulations with two stair cores and sprinklers, and advanced smart building controls providing improved comfort. These timber towers are sourced from sustainably harvested forests, creating a “City of Nature”—healthful, comfortable and pleasurable, less stressful and more sociable.

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