Sir Bob Jones to build NZ’s tallest timber tower
REAL ESTATE ENTREPRENEUR, SIR BOB Jones, will start construction of one of the world's tallest wooden buildings in central Wellington next year.
The new office tower, which will go on the corner of Featherston and Brandon Streets, will stretch to 12 storeys high – about 52 metres – and bring New Zealand into the exclusive club of nations that have tall structures built with engineered wood.
The building will feature Cross Laminated Timber, or CLT, to provide a strong structure that will withstand damaging earthquakes.
"This is of particular importance to New Zealand as laminated timber is far more earthquake resilient and fire-resistant than steel or reinforced concrete, both of which buckle in earthquakes or fires," Sir Bob says.
"Laminated timber stays intact. It will also save on the cost of importing steel and is more environmentally friendly."
Among other reasons quoted by Sir Bob for selecting timber for this building is the speed of construction, which he compares to “assembling like a Meccano set”. He also believes it will be more cost-effective to construct than traditional methods due to the speed.
Sir Bob says other major cities in North America and Europe are adopting engineered timber for tall buildings and says it is time New Zealand followed suit. He has designed the building in collaboration with a Wellington architecture firm.
As an interesting exercise, the number of Radiata Pine trees that will go into the new building works out to 1,500. Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association Chief Executive, Dr Jon Tanner, calculates that the amount of timber used in the tower would take about an hour to grow in New Zealand’s forests.
Whilst it might be the tallest timber building in New Zealand, it isn’t the largest structure to be built from wood. The old government building that sits near Wellington’s Beehive is the biggest wooden building in the southern hemisphere.
New Zealand’s tallest timber tower will be constructed in Wellington next year.