Exactly three years ago, on a drab November Sunday, a simple query –”How to meaningfully use wood as a building material in a new city neighbourhood for future generations? “ –laid the foundations for a high-rise made of wood, located in one of Europe’s largest urban development projects – fast-growing 22nd district in the north-east of the city, where a new urban centre is taking shape. Construction of the new 84-meter, 24-storey high ‘HoHo Tower’ in Vienna, Austria – set to be the world’s tallest timber building – has been underway for over a year now. Around 76 percent of the structure will be constructed from wood. It was high time to give wood its due as a natural product in urban development.
Once finished, Hoho Wien will house a hotel, apartments, a restaurant, a wellness centre and offices. The tower that forms part of the HoHo Vienna project has one major strength: lots of building parts are prefabricated in the factory where weather conditions can be left out of account. As a result, numerous procedures are no longer necessary on the construction site itself. The solid timber walls will never be distinguishable as such from the outside, since a moisture barrier will have been applied to each of the individual elements before they leave the factory to protect against weathering. The HoHo Wien system, which is kept deliberately “simple”, stacks up four prefabricated, serial building elements: supports, joist, ceiling panels and facade elements. The lower of the two structures is complete and installation of the initial prefabricated wooden elements is in full progress.This stage is all about spearheading pioneering work, since tried-and-true solutions are of no avail in a project of this nature.
“We keep getting asked whether our timber resources are jeopardised by the current timber boom in the construction industry. In Austria, forests produce 30 million cubic metres of timber a year, of which 26 million cubic metres are logged. The remaining 4 million cubic metres remain in the forest, continually increasing timber stocks. In other words, 1 cubic metre of wood grows back every second and thus the timber used for the entire HoHo Vienna project will have grown back in our country’s forests in only one hour and 17 minutes.”