NewsMar 2020

Forget the concrete jungle, timber is on the way up in major cities

A neighbourhood made entirely of timber. Surely it’s a concept from a bygone era, or at best, a quaint village adhering to the values of yesteryear?

But what if this wooden wonderland consisted of high-rise buildings, and was situated in one of the Western World’s most progressive metropolises?

And what if one of the most powerful corporations on Earth was backing it?

Forget the what ifs. Alphabet, parent company of digital behemoth Google, is investing US$900 million (A$1.39 billion) into an all-timber business precinct in Canada’s largest city, Toronto.

More avant-garde than arcane, Alphabet’s recently announced plans cater for a 12-acre waterfront precinct known as Quayside. According to the plans, Quayside will be built upon a design engineered toward “the world’s first all-timber high-rise neighbourhood”.

This isn’t the first project of its kind in this neck of the woods. Canada’s third-largest city, Vancouver, is already home to an 18-storey timber high-rise building. But this project has the wood on its Pacific Coast predecessor because its vision is for buildings made entirely of timber, standing without the support of steel or concrete framework.

To achieve this dream, Alphabet will use “mass timber”, or as we like to call it, modular timber. Relying on prefabricated timber for an unprecedented project of this size and scale is a resounding vote of confidence for a mode of construction that’s taken the building industry by storm.

The inspiration for Quayside extends far beyond the aesthetic. Using prefabricated timber not only reduces time, cost and workplace risk on the building site, it is also manufactured with less energy and emissions than steel or concrete. The finished product has impeccable structural integrity, while being extraordinarily fire resistant.

Or as Alphabet’s subsidiary, Sidewalk Labs, which is leading the project, puts it: “Sustainable buildings that can be constructed and adapted far more quickly, and a new set of financial and design tools that help improve affordability and expand options for all households.”

As an industry leader in the field of modular and prefabricated construction for more than 30 years, BuiltSmart Group is excited by the growing appetite and imagination for timber dwellings, both commercial and residential.

We are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise in the construction and use of Mass Timber and the exciting new possibilities it presents for the construction industry.

BSG’s experience and understanding of this material and model of construction makes us the ideal partner for developers, builders and architects looking to enter this new field with confidence. Call us today to discover more about our modular timber solutions.