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Japanese company announces plans for the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper

The planned tower would rise 350 meters (1148 feet).

February 15, 2018 |
Interior of the planned W350 building

Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd, a member of the Sumitomo Group, has big plans to celebrate the Group’s 350th anniversary in the year 2041: a 350-meter wooden tower that comprises retail, office, hotel, and residential space. The Tokyo-based tower would become Japan’s tallest building and the tallest wooden skyscraper in the world.

The overall goal of the high-rise, dubbed W350, is to help realize an environmentally conscious city of wooden buildings that would transform Tokyo into a “forest.” Sumitomo describes the tower as “a living place of living things.”


Exterior of Sumitomo's planned wood towerCourtesy of Sumitomo.


The mixed-use building, which is being designed in collaboration with Japanese architecture firm Nikken Sekkei, will be a wood and steel hybrid that consists of 90% wood. The interior will be made entirely of wood. It is designed to rise 70 stories and 350 meters (1148 feet) into the Tokyo sky. The total floor area will be approximately 455,000 sm and will use 185,000 cubic meters of wood. The company says using this amount of wood would have a two-pronged effect: it will equip the tower to remove about 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air and will also be a catalyst to encourage reforestation.

The tower is designed with a braced tube structure. This system forms a cylindrical shell with columns/beams and braces. The braces are placed diagonally in a set of shafts assembled with columns and beams to prevent the building from deforming against lateral forces like earthquakes and wind. Balconies will wrap the exterior of the building to provide fresh air, nature, and sunlight.


Rendering of the braced tube structureCourtesy of Sumitomo.


W350’s cost is estimated at 600 billion yen, or $5.6 billion. For comparison, One World Trade Center cost $3.6 billion. Sumitomo says the cost of the wooden tower is almost twice that of conventionally constructed high-rise buildings. In order to bring those costs down, the company is accelerating its research and technology development in an attempt to increase the construction and economic feasibility of the project.


Rendering of a balcony on the W350 towerCourtesy of Sumitomo.


The current tallest wooden building in the world is the Brock Commons on the University of British Columbia campus. The building stands 53 meters, almost 300 meters shorter than the planned W350.

Japanese architecture firm Nikken Sekkei is helping to design the tower.


Rendering of the balconies on the exterior of the buildingCourtesy of Sumitomo.

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