Michael Green: Why We Should Build Wooden Skyscrapers

Michael Green: Why We Should Build Wooden Skyscrapers

Credit: Michael Green Architecture

Credit: Michael Green Architecture

Building a skyscraper? Forget about steel and concrete, says architect Michael Green, and build it out of … wood.

Michael Green is a Vancouver native and founder of Michael Green Architecture. He is an advocate of using wood to build skyscrapers. And for good reason. His building, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) has won multiple awards, including the RAIC Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture in 2015.

The eight-storey building (6 storey with mezzanine plus penthouse), stands 29.5m tall — at the time of completion it was the world’s tallest modern all-timber structure, serving as a benchmark to be broken by other mass timber buildings in the works.*

Credit: Michael Green Architecture

Credit: Michael Green Architecture


In 2013, Michael gave a Ted Talk where he outlined some of the reasons why he believes skyscrapers should be built from wood. He made a very convincing argument.

Some of my personal key takeaways from the talk were:

  • Michael believes if you cut down a tree to make something, that you should honour that tree’s life and make something as beautiful as possible.
  • Trees grow to forty storeys tall, but yet we only construct buildings that are four stories tall.
  • 47% of the World’s CO2 emissions are related to the building industry, which far exceeds the much maligned transport industry’s 33%, so we need to address this.
  • 1 metre ³ of wood will store 1 tonne of CO2 whereas concrete and steel actually produce CO2 when being made.
  • Michael proposes to build these structures using mass timber panels plus engineered timber beams.
  • In Michael’s opinion wood is the most technologically advanced material he can build with. It just so happens that Mother Nature holds the patent. But Mother Nature’s fingerprint should be a part of our built environment.

It’s a video that’s well worth a watch. Check it out below.

To find out more;





*Source: http://mg-architecture.ca/work/wood-innovation-design-centre/


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