It is recent news that the Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway, has become the tallest wooden building in the world: a skyscraper built with XLAM technology for mixed use, consisting of 18 floors and almost 90 meters high in total.
The project saw the signature of the prestigious architecture firm Voll Arkitekter, and was inaugurated on March 15, 2019 after years of work with the stated aim of overcoming the Hoho Wien, a hybrid building in wood and concrete in Vienna, which until that at the time it held the tallest wooden structure scepter in the world (albeit only partially, as the Hoho Wien has a hybrid structure of wood and reinforced concrete).
It is also in Norway that the Treet building is located, in the beautiful city of Bergen, built in wood and 49 meters high, while in Vancouver the Brock Commons Tallwood House reaches 53 meters, boasting the title of tallest wooden structure in the world. ‘America.
But Italy in all this?
As not infrequently happens, our country is rather behind in innovation, but – as often happens – the lion’s share is in Milan. Even in the case of near-zero impact CLT buildings, the Lombard capital is at the forefront of the national panorama, thanks above all to the residential complex in Via Cenni, nicely called “Signs of Change“.
Signs of Change is the first European social housing project built with wooden load-bearing structures. It is located in the San Siro area, and consists of 124 class A apartments, of different sizes, with rent at a controlled rate and a future purchase agreement.
Alongside this major project, there are also some (few, actually) restoration interventions of the building heritage, small white flies in the Milanese panorama, but still noteworthy, precursors of a technology, that of green building, which will certainly change the way of building.
Signs of change: the detail
The building intervention dates back to 2013 and is mainly intended for young people, or in any case for new families. The project also includes a series of non-residential services, including recreational and cultural spaces, in order to be able to better establish a network of neighborhood relationships.
The common areas have been conceived as paths to be enjoyed at different times of the day, with elements such as bridges, stairways and galleries designed specifically to become meeting spaces. Furthermore, the internal courtyard was designed as a public park, therefore also open to non-residents, with play areas for children and pergolas.
Signs of change comes from the mind of the architect Fabrizio Rossi Prodi of Florence, and is spread over an area of 17 thousand square meters.
XLAM is the acronym for Cross-LAMinated (the letter “X” can be seen as a cross, in English precisely “cross”), that is, laminated wooden panels with crossed layers, in which each layer is formed precisely by lamellas, or boards. The layers are superimposed and glued one on top of the other, so as to form a solid and durable load-bearing structure, but at the same time light, breathable and ecological.
In fact, the advantages of using XLAM panels mainly concern energy efficiency, as the insulating qualities and low thermal conductivity of the wood greatly help the building’s insulation. Therefore, less energy is needed for heating in winter and cooling in summer. Furthermore, another strong point of XLAM panels is the acoustic insulation, as the internal surfaces absorb noise.
We add a higher quality standard than the classic reinforced concrete, the gaze turned towards environmental sustainability and high resistance to earthquakes and earthquakes due to the lower stresses they undergo, and here is that XLAM panels represent, without a shadow of a doubt, the future of construction, in Italy and around the world.