World's tallest timber building in Paris?

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A rendering of the proposed tower

Vancouver, BC, Canada — An international development team today announced a proposal that would transform the Parisian skyline and define the future of sustainable, carbon-neutral building in Paris. Michael Green Architecture | MGA of Vancouver and DVVD of Paris have joined with REI France developments to explore renewable, energy-efficient solutions to the growing urban housing and social challenges facing Paris today.  As part of the city’s innovative Réinventer Paris competition, the team has proposed an inventive urban project called Baobab that would feature the world’s tallest wood building at 35-storeys and would see Paris define the next era of city building.

“Réinventer Paris showcases the exceptional leadership of the City of Paris and its commitment to fostering sustainable urban solutions that prioritise the needs of future generations.” said Paul Jarquin, President of REI France.  “Paris is the ideal place to reinvent and demonstrate truly ecological development, and to ensure the youth of Paris have an opportunity to live, thrive and connect to their city.”

The project’s innovations are multi-dimensional and extend beyond wood building materials and height. A new model of housing explores ways in which the next generation can live in small urban spaces without losing their sense of community. Combining an innovative mix of market and social housing, a student hotel, urban agriculture, a bus station, e-car hub and amenities, the Baobab project would foster the City’s vision for a connected, vibrant metropolis. Spanning the eight-lane Peripherique and reaching new heights in sustainable wood building, the proposal would transform the Pershing Site into a gateway to the city and a model for future projects around the world.

“Our goal is that through innovation, youthful social contact and overall community building, we have created a design that becomes uniquely important to Paris,” said Michael Green, Principal of MGA.  “Just as Gustave Eiffel shattered our conception of what was possible a century and a half ago, this project can push the envelope of wood innovation with France in the forefront. The Pershing Site is the perfect moment for Paris to embrace the next era of architecture.”

Artists impression

At 35-storeys, the proposed wood high-rise would top recent announcements internationally for tall wood buildings.  The project’s collection of wood structures would offer greater environmental responsibility and a lower carbon footprint than other alternatives.  When harvested responsibly, wood is the only carbon-neutral building material that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and actually sequester carbon in buildings. The wood products used would store an estimated 3,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent to keeping 2,207 cars off the road for a year, or operating a home for 982 years (Source: WoodWorks Wood Products Council Carbon Calculator).

The development team brings global leadership and expertise in tall wood buildings. Together with engineers Equilibrium, MGA has designed some of the tallest wood buildings in the world today. MGA and Equilibrium wrote The Case for Tall Wood Buildings, an exhaustive study on the motivations to shift urban construction to mass timber as well as a handbook for practical, safe construction of these buildings.  This study and Michael Green’s 2013 TED talk helped to catalyze the wave of new tall wood buildings internationally.

Shortlisted proposals are expected to be announced in summer 2015.  For more information about the Réinventer Paris competition, please visit: www.réinventer.paris

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is an engineered wood product, similar in construction to an extremely large plywood, used for pre-fabricated structural applications.

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