“One of the centerpiece ideas in Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build a high-tech neighborhood in Toronto is for dozens of mass-produced, mass-timber towers to rise above the former industrial waterfront,” writes Alissa Walker for Curbed.
Sidewalk Toronto is a $1.3 billion plan for Toronto’s eastern waterfront, on 12 acres of industrial land. Developed by Sidewalk Labs, in affiliation with Google, it envisions a sustainable, inclusive and climate-positive development, a kind of urban lab for the future of cities. The development will use mobility and energy initiatives to cut greenhouse gases, will include a factory to stimulate manufacturing and will aim to stimulate urban innovation. In addition, the development is projected to create 44,000 jobs and, two decades from now, $14.2 billion annually in positive economic impact.
As an innovative prototype, the proposal by Sidewalk Labs includes the building of timber high-rise towers. Timber as a building material for taller buildings is growing in popularity and the last few years have seen more than 44 tall timber buildings planned or built around the globe.
As a building material, timber has a low net environmental impact compared to other building materials. Sustainably sourced timber reduces carbon dioxide as the trees that are replanted absorb carbon dioxide when growing and store it as carbon on maturity. And if that doesn’t convince you, timber also has a low thermal mass with natural insulating properties, it’s lightweight, which makes construction quicker and easier, it’s durable, and it can be recycled.
The lightweight and flexible properties of timber have also set some hurdles to overcome around stability and support. But the Sidewalk Labs design team, which includes mass-timber architecture expert Michael Green from Gensler, are determined. They have produced the Proto-Model X, or PMX, a digital proof-of-concept for a 35 story high tower, nearly double the height of other modern mass-timber buildings. We’ll be watching closely to see if they can make it a reality.
See the original article here.
Image from PXFuel licensed CC0 Public Domain