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Wood Frame High Rises, How Could This Possibly Go Wrong?

 
 
Sturgis
 
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 04:35 pm
So, now wood is popular again and considered by some as "green". (not sure I entirely agree). And builders have been hard at work following the drawings of various architects, slapping together pieces of lumber into varied designs and creating high rise buildings!

What could possibly go wrong with this picture? It's made primarily of wood. The last I checked, wood is still on the list of flammable materials. SURE, they use cross laminated timber, which contains some gypsum, which makes it "fire resistant" . Yeah, well, if I'm on the 15th floor, I'd rather have something more than friggin resistant!

Are the stairs also made of dried out wood?

Sure, I nearly failed wood shop back in the seventh grade; but, this is not about that. I actually like wood. The smell of wood. The feel of the sap still gooey in freshly hewn wood. Just not comfy womfy with tall buildings using it as their primary material.

How about you? Would you be happy living in this sort of structure?


Now, without further ado, an article (with nice photos and a few links), from the folks at CNN.

Has the wooden skyscraper revolution arrived?
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 193 • Replies: 10
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 04:42 pm
I remember a 2 1/2 story residence we were framing, so massive it was getting an elevator. We had to nail lots of blocks between the studs to keep them from buckling beneath the weight. I figured just on that one we should have used a different design to keep it standing for the long haul.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 04:48 pm
I remember once when we were looking at houses to buy. We saw one that we liked my husband remarked it was had some sort of siding. I forget the material but he found out if the house would catch fire this type of material burns significantly much hotter than the newest type of siding now recommended.

At the time we had also hired this retired guy to help with some work in our bathroom of the condo we were selling. My husband mentioned it to him if that should be a worry. Being an old thinker - he said if the house is on fire you get the h*ll out - so what does it matter how hot it is.

Now granted this was a two story structure.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 05:16 pm
@Linkat,
Could have been cedar shake siding. They had to outlaw cedar, particularly on roofs. in Houston, because they burn like somebody poured kerosene on them.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2020 05:27 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

Could have been cedar shake siding. They had to outlaw cedar, particularly on roofs. in Houston, because they burn like somebody poured kerosene on them.


now it was like aluminum or some such thing like that - something manufactured
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 04:52 am
@Sturgis,
The last big fire over here, Grenfell Tower, wasn't caused by wood but by the insulating cladding on the outside.

I think other building materials are far more hazardous, but I wouldn't be happy living on the top of a wooden building.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 01:31 pm
@izzythepush,
There's some absolutely stunning projects that will use this plyscraper technique (though the name kind of hurts its cause).

https://imgur.com/E2k5xrr.jpg

Thanks Sturgis. I loves me some architecture porn.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 01:35 pm
@tsarstepan,
I advocate the use of balsa instead of plywood. It would increase the thrill of being in one.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 04:04 pm
@Sturgis,
Sturgis wrote:

So, now wood is popular again and considered by some as "green". (not sure I entirely agree). And builders have been hard at work following the drawings of various architects, slapping together pieces of lumber into varied designs and creating high rise buildings!

I agree that harvesting trees for wood isn't exactly eco-friendly compared to maintaining forests with less disruption to ecosystems.

Quote:
What could possibly go wrong with this picture? It's made primarily of wood. The last I checked, wood is still on the list of flammable materials. SURE, they use cross laminated timber, which contains some gypsum, which makes it "fire resistant" . Yeah, well, if I'm on the 15th floor, I'd rather have something more than friggin resistant!

I read an article recently that was very optimistic about the thickness of beams and lamination as sufficient to prevent burning, but it does seem a bit suspect, doesn't it?

Quote:

How about you? Would you be happy living in this sort of structure?

I think the key to climate reform is to integrate contiguous mature canopy and root systems with buildings, roads/pavements, and infrastructure that fits between the trees.

If you have narrow-footprint tower/pillars with mature trees between them and bridges connecting them to add square footage above the canopy, then you could maintain healthy, forested soil on the ground level while having indoor square footage 'inset' within the forest/orchard of trees below.

I don't think replacing steel/concrete buildings with wood without reforesting the soil is going to make climate sustainable in the long run because the ground has to be alive to generate biosediments year after year, millennium upon millennium, that the planet has had since it came to life.
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 04:19 pm
@livinglava,
Interesting thing is, they make no mention of reforestation. That is part of what went wrong to begin with. Still taking place in places across the planet. I can't count the number of times I've seen houses on streets with nary a tree in sight.
livinglava
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Feb, 2020 11:46 pm
@Sturgis,
Sturgis wrote:

Interesting thing is, they make no mention of reforestation. That is part of what went wrong to begin with. Still taking place in places across the planet. I can't count the number of times I've seen houses on streets with nary a tree in sight.

To me it is just so obvious that there is supposed to be a layer of canopy that shields the soil from the harsh sunlight so that water won't evaporate and dry up all the living carbon protected by it.

Humans who only see the value of clearing away that canopy and replacing it with buildings/pavement/infrastructure are missing the function of a living layer of carbon-absorbing organic material and its sediments.

It would be so easy to restore climate if we would just give the soil back to tree roots and the fungi and other soil flora that sustain them and clean groundwater as it filters down into aquifers.

The Earth has a natural carbon cycle that sucks carbon out of atmospheric CO2, deposits it in living organisms, and then gradually condenses their sediments underground.

We want to dig it all up, burn it to extract the energy, and then suck it back out of the atmosphere artificially, which will obstruct the long process of restoring fossil fuel deposits so future generations will inherit the same natural resources that pre-industrial humans did.

We never think about how something artificial will age and eventually break down into junk. We fail to value nature's amazing capacity to heal and regenerate into a renewed/rejuvenated state. Human-made systems wear out and have to be rebuilt by humans, but natural ecosystems simply decompose their own detritus and turn it into fertilizer for the next generation using nothing but water, sunlight, and amazingly complex DNA processes that make all the enzymes necessary to do the work at the nano-scale.

It's so ironic that humans are fascinated by nano-engineering, yet most fail to appreciate how nature nano-engineers a totally sustainable biosphere in the absence of human effort and/or digging up and burning fossil fuels for power.
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