You Might Not Need Time Travel To See a Real Wooden Skyscraper

Illustration for article titled You Might Not Need Time Travel To See a Real Wooden Skyscraper

While a skyscraper made of wood might sound like a piece of architectural history, it also makes for an interesting idea for a sustainable, modern building. Big Wood is a striking prototype for one that shows it might not be outside of the realm of possibility.

The sophomorically named Big Wood would be a large, mixed-use university building in Chicago's South Loop. It would include housing, retail, a library, and a park. The plan just won an award in architecture magazine eVolo's annual SkyScraper competition. And while it is just a concept at this point, InHabitat says according to recent studies, it's actually possible to raise buildings made of wood that are as tall as 20 or 30 stories. That would help curb man-made carbon emissions, of which the construction industry is responsible for around 40 percent.

Will we ever see wooden skyscrapers? Maybe! And it would sort of bring us full-circle considering skyscrapers—which were actually born in Chicago—were made of timber in the beginning. Then again, many of those were shorter than what we'd think of as skyscrapers today, and they were also destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire. And it wasn't until modern materials like reinforced steel and fireproof iron came along that buildings really towered over the city. At the very least, though, a modern wooden skyscraper soars to the limits of our imagination. [eVolo via InHabitat]

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And what happens when it catches fire? Or an earthquake happens? Or if the wood started to split from humidity? This is a really dumb idea.