Skyscrapers are nothing new…Here’s what is.

The race to build taller than the last guy seems to be in full swing in cities around the world. From iconic venues like the Empire State Building and One World Tower in New York City to Burj Khalifa in Dubai, immense structures of steel and glass reach to the heavens.

But today, more and more designers are turning to more renewable resources for their building materials of choice. Wood has become a popular option as the main material in tall structures all over the world. Here are just a few exceptional examples of buildings that are turning heads and changing minds about wood.

T3, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

tall wood building
T3, Minneapolis, MN, 2016. Courtesy Michael Green Architecture.

The tallest wood structure in the U.S. when it was completed in 2016, T3 is a seven-story structure in the North Loop section of the city. It features 180,000 square feet of office and communal space. With the main structure installed in just 9.5 weeks during a Minnesota winter no less (watch the incredible time-lapse construction here), it’s a testament to all the advantages of a tall wood building.

It uses pre-fabricated panels made from nail-laminated timber (NLT) for its floor and roofing. NLT is becoming more popular with architects and contractors because it can be locally sourced and doesn’t require a dedicated facility for assembly. These panels are then installed atop glulam beams for structural support.

Some of the popular amenities of T3 include a rooftop deck area, a community meeting space on the first floor, and access to various modes of transportation nearby including a complimentary bike sharing station.

Forte, Melbourne, Australia

tall wood apartment building
“Forté is Australia’s greenest apartment building in Australia’s greenest precinct, in the most livable city in the world.”

This 10-story residential complex opened in 2012 and reaches an amazing 105 feet into the sky over the Docklands neighborhood in Melbourne. It’s home to 23 apartments and four townhomes.

Built entirely from cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, Forte makes the most of the natural resources around it including tons of natural light. It prides itself on not only being located in a “green” conscious city but also being better for the environment than a traditional glass and steel structure. This is because timber structures also act as carbon sinks since they store carbon dioxide instead of releasing it.

HoHo Tower, Vienna, Austria

Wooden Tower Vienna
© Cetus Baudevelopment GmbH. Source: WOSCHITZ ENGINEERING

Currently under construction, HoHo is poised to become the world’s tallest wood structure, for now. It will be 24-stories and 275 feet tall upon completion. It will be home to residential and office spaces as well as housing a hotel, a restaurant, and a wellness center. The developers have also put up a pretty sweet 3D tour of some offices inside.

Innovating as they go, developers are able to construct panels in an offsite factory so weather is less of a concern and causes fewer delays in the process. While the finished structure may not readily look like wood on the outside due to the protective moisture barrier applied to each exterior panel, rest assured that the final tally will show that a full 76 percent of the tower will be constructed of wood.

With so many innovations in the world of mass-produced timber products, these structures, while at the top of the record books now, are destined to be surpassed. Tall wood buildings are gaining in popularity all over the world as we turn toward more responsible and environmentally friendly construction materials. The good news is that while they are “green” and good for the planet, they are also stunningly beautiful and feature all the modern amenities developers desire.

(Featured image, Holzfassade Hoho-Next © J. Zotter, Source: Worschitz Engineering. Other images  via Michael Green Architecture, via Lend Lease Group, via Worschitz Engineering)