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Could we build a wooden skyscraper? - Stefan Al


14,974 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

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Towering 85 meters above the Norwegian countryside, Mjøstårnet is the world’s tallest wooden building, made almost entirely from the trees of neighboring forests. But as recently as the end of the 20th century, engineers thought it was impossible to build a wooden building over 6 stories tall. So how do wooden structures like this compare to steel and concrete skyscrapers? Stefan Al investigates.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Architects have long favored concrete and steel for their modern aesthetics, but wooden buildings can be equally beautiful and innovative. For examples of creatively designed wooden buildings, you can take a look at the projects collected by Think Wood.

There may be other ways to engineer mass timber buildings taller than 30 stories, such as through tuned mass dampers or exoskeletons. Learn about some of these engineering techniques that allow us to create taller buildings In this TED ED video.

In addition to mass timber, other trends are impacting our tall buildings as well, such as tree-covered skyscrapers and sideways elevators. Learn more about this in my forthcoming book Supertall: The Future of Tall Buildings and a More Sustainable World

Wood materials are a positive trend for buildings, but trees, the original skyscrapers, have a role in sustainable cities as well. Learn more about the many benefits of trees in urban environments in this TED ED video.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Stefan Al
  • Director Franz Palomares
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Music Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal, Dan Kwartler
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-Checker Jennifer Nam

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