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It’s 2018 and Tokyo is about to build a giant wooden skyscraper

It’s 2018 and Tokyo is about to build a giant wooden skyscraper
[Photo: courtesy of Sumitomo Forestry Group]

Tokyo’s ultra-modern skyline is getting a new addition–the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper. Japanese timber company Sumitomo Forestry has announced plans for a 1,148-foot-tall timber tower intended to mark the 350th anniversary of the business. The 70-story building will be a mix of offices and about 8,000 homes, and in keeping with the woodsy theme, the building will feature trees and foliage on balconies at every level.

The hybrid wood-steel building will be made up of 90% indigenous wood (Japan is carpeted in forests), and fully prepared to withstand fires and earthquakes. Wood is an environmentally sound choice, because it is thought to store carbon, whereas buildings made from concrete and steel are believed to be responsible for about 8% and 5% of global emissions. In 2010, Japan’s government passed the Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Buildings Act, which required all government buildings up to three stories high to be constructed with wood. Finland has been exploring a similar measure, and Congress introduced a bill in the United States last year.

The projected cost of the building is about 600 billion yen (roughly $5.6 billion), which the BBC says is about twice the cost of a conventional skyscraper of the same size. When completed in 2041, the wooden building will tower over the 173-foot dormitory in Vancouver that currently holds the title of world’s tallest wooden skyscraper.

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