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Architects unveil plans for London’s first skyscraper made entirely of wood…and at 1,000ft tall it will be the capital’s second tallest after the Shard

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  • Oakwood Tower will have 1,000 homes including terraced housing on-site
  • If plans go ahead 80-storey tower will be world’s tallest wooden structure
  • Building will be constructed alongside the Barbican in the City of London

A team of leading architects has unveiled plans for London’s first ever wooden skyscraper. The group from Cambridge University want to build a 1,000ft structure off the edge of the Barbican, in the City of London, and the designers hope that 1,000 homes can be created across its 80-storeys.

The Oakwood Tower would have a completely timber frame and its 93,000sqm floor plan would also include terraced housing.

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The concept was put to London mayor Boris Johnson and if it goes ahead it will be London’s second tallest building after The Shard – and the tallest wooden structure in the world.

Michael Romage, director of Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation, said: ‘The Barbican was designed in the middle of the last century to bring residential living into the city of London and was successful.

 ‘If London is going to survive it needs to increasingly densify and one way is with taller buildings. We believe people have a greater affinity for taller buildings in natural materials rather than steel and concrete towers.’

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Timber has been used to make homes for more than 2,000 years and it is being heralded as a lightweight and sustainable substitute for traditional construction materials.

The sky scraper would certainly catch the eye on London’s ever-changing skyline, but while it would be unique in our capital – there are others like it in cities around the world.

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The tallest existing wooden building is a 14-storey apartment block in Bergen, Norway, but several more are planned in France and Sweden.

Last month, French architect Jean Paul Viguier revealed his competition-winning proposal for a trio of timber towers in Bordeaux that will rise to 57 metres, and Swedish studio Tham & Videgrd Arkitekter has drawn up plans for a row of wooden apartment blocks in Stockholm. 

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Discussing the idea of wooden buildings in London, PLP Architecture partner Kevin Flanagan said: ‘The use of timber could transform the way we build in this city.