Video: Could the Empire State Building be Built of Wood?

Originally published by: Green Building ElementsNovember 27, 2015

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Metsä Wood of Finland makes quality wood products from local forest sources. It is working with internationally known architect Michael Green to promote its Plan B campaign, which seeks to educate other architects and designers that wood should always be considered as a serious construction option. Green especially likes to re-imagine existing buildings like the Empire State Building and the Coliseum. Wood is more sustainable with lower emissions than traditional building materials.

Green’s design for the Empire State Building features engineered wood products for the building’s structural and support structure. Green says this is the first new way to build a skyscraper in the past 100 years. The iconic New York City building was representative of innovations in structural steel in the 1920’s and was the tallest building in the world for nearly 40 years. Green was assisted by Equilibrium Consulting, an internationally recognized leader in timber engineering. Metsä Wood’s own material and construction experts rounded out the team.

“While many things have changed in 85 years, architects still strive to give form to new ideas about structure, energy consumption, climate change and the list goes on. For these reasons, the most iconic building of the modern age – the Empire State Building – was chosen for a Plan B case. We designed a skyscraper using Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL engineered wood as the main material from floors to column spacing”, explains Green.

Green believes strongly that high-rise wooden buildings are not only possible, but may be the most practical and environmentally sound solution to addressing rapid global urbanization and climate change. “I believe that the future belongs to tall wooden buildings. Significant advancements in engineered wood and mass timber products have created a new vision for what is possible for safe, tall, urban wood buildings. The challenge now is to change society’s perception of what’s possible. In fact, this is the first new way to build a skyscraper in the last 100 years”, tells Green.

Metsä Wood wants to be strongly involved in the development and growth of these markets. It use 100% traceable wood from the northern forests of Finland, a sustainable raw material of the finest quality. Its primary products are Nordic premium timber, plywood, Kerto ® and glulam.