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Berlin’s New Timber Tower Comes With Lofty Ambitions

A skyscraper that would be Europe’s tallest wooden building promises a “social and ecological paradigm shift” in a gentrifying neighborhood — and a test for the city’s affordable housing model.

If built, the 29-story WoHo tower in Berlin would be the tallest timber structure in Europe. 

If built, the 29-story WoHo tower in Berlin would be the tallest timber structure in Europe. 

Rendering: Mad Arkitekter

The high-rise mixed-use building that Berlin is planning to construct in the city’s Kreuzberg district is unusual for a few reasons.

The 322 foot (98 meter) tower, whose construction was confirmed on Jan. 29 by sustainable developer UTB, the state of Berlin and the borough of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg the will be made largely of wood. Costing 90 million euros ($109 million) to build, the tower will be constructed from the engineered wood known as cross-laminated timber, which allows builders to erect tall towers that use far less steel and concrete than traditional skyscrapers. Called WoHo and designed by Norway’s Mad Arkitekter, the 29-story building promises to be Europe’s highest wooden building to date, using reinforced concrete solely for its core and basement.