Is the first timber frame skyscraper set to be built in London?

Plans to build the capital’s first timber skyscraper took a step closer to reality earlier this month after researchers presented Mayor of London Boris Johnson with theoretical plans for an 80-storey building.

New heights

Richard Carr Timber Frame London

An architects image of the 80-storey building

Property developer Richard Carr is pleased to see the UK leading the way in new construction techniques, having felt that it had been left behind by the likes of China and Dubai.

Currently, Bergen, Norway is the home of the world’s largest tallest timber building, which is a 14-storey apartment block.

The plans shown to Boris Johnson are for an 80-storey, 300m high wooden building, which would easily take that title!

Researchers from Cambridge University have teamed up with a group of engineers and architects to develop the plans for the building, which would integrate with the Barbican.

The building certainly does push the boundaries of construction and if the plans are approved it would become the second tallest building in London after The Shard.


Simon Smith of Smith and Wallwork engineers told “Timber is our only renewable construction material and in its modern engineered form it can work alongside steel and concrete to extend and regenerate our cities. It is only a matter of time until the first timber skyscraper is built”.

The research team from Cambridge have highlighted the benefits of the building including: reduced costs, improved construction timescales and a significant reduction in the overall weight of buildings.


At the moment, the main concern about the building is the wood timber and the fire risks associated. However, the team believe that the building would not only meet but exceed every existing fire regulation currently in place for similar steel and concrete buildings.

Dr Michael Ramage, Director for Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation, said: “We are developing a new understanding of primary challenges in structure and construction. There is a lot of work ahead, but we are confident of meeting all the challenges before us.”

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