Sustainably Strong: Ybyrá Corporate Tower Is a Timber Skyscraper
Wood is one of the earliest known construction materials. In the modern urban landscape, wood is conspicuously absent, or relegated to homes with traditional designs. Most built-form structures are made of steel, concrete, glass, and other man-made materials. However, recent innovations in materials engineering have optimized laminated timber as a construction material, paving the way for the use of wood in taller buildings than ever before.
Apart from the aesthetic appeal of wood, it also has other benefits as a construction material. It weighs significantly less than equivalent structures, increasing the efficiency of construction while decreasing the building’s carbon footprint. Laminated timber is engineered for high-rise buildings, with its layers of timber sections aligned with their grains at right angles to each other – a similar configuration to those used in carbon-fiber composites known for their extraordinary strength.
This vision of wood as a primary element in skyscraper construction was the inspiration for the Ybyrá Corporate Tower, a planned design by Victor B. Architecture. The tower will be located in the historic city of St. Petersburg, Russia. The natural appearance of the timber in the façade distinguishes it from typical high-rise buildings, while showcasing the ingenuity of the designers and construction engineers with its impressive sinuous curves.
The material palette is composed of massive timber panels, with a glass structure forming the inside of the building’s curve, and neutral-toned stone for the Sky Lobby’s wavy walls.
With the majority of urban buildings being constructed from man-made materials, a building that highlights the beauty of natural wood using laminated timber can serve as a model for further designs: buildings that aim to create a warmer, more livable experience of urban life.