Tallest timber tower in Sweden is about a lot more than just wood

From the green roof down to the electric boat, there are so many interesting aspects of sustainable design.

An hour north of Stockholm on Lake Mälaren in Västerås, C.F. Møller Architects have just completed Kajstaden, the tallest wood building in Sweden. They explain why:

In Kajstaden, an active decision was made to prioritise industrial timber techniques for the building material to influence and take responsibility for the impact of the construction industry on the environment and climate change. A crucial advantage of wood, unlike other building materials, is that the production chain for the material produces a limited amount of carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, it is part of a closed cycle, where carbon is retained in the frame of the building.

Kajstaden closeup facade© C.F. Møller Architects Photo by Nikolaj Jakobsen

It's made primarily from Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glulam (see what the differences are here):

The high precision technology involved in CNC-milled solid timber with glulam elements results in air-tight and energy-efficient houses without other unnecessary materials in the walls. The low weight of the material means fewer deliveries to the construction site and a more efficient, safer and quieter working environment during construction. It took an average of three days per floor for three craftsmen to raise the frame.

Kajastaden closeup of balconies© C.F. Møller Architects Photo by Nikolaj Jakobsen

Mechanical joints with screws have been used, which means that the building can be taken apart so that the materials can be recycled. The total carbon dioxide saving is estimated to be 550 tonnes of CO2 when using solid wood instead of concrete.

Kajastaden construction detail© C.F. Møller Architects Photo by Nikolaj Jakobsen

The interesting thing here is that they have so much CLT exposed; I have never seen a balcony built like that, out of a slab of CLT. Note how the balcony is sitting on a steel angle, with a gap between it and the building on the back, where the cladding or insulation will come through.

Balcony view© C.F. Møller Architects Photo by Nikolaj Jakobsen

There are other benefits to wood construction that we have mentioned before: “Research also shows that buildings with a wooden frame make a positive contribution to human health and well-being- thanks to better air quality and acoustic qualities.” Also, biophilia. People just like being around wood.

Sustainability diagram© C.F. Møller Architects

There is a lot to love about the way they are looking at sustainability here, from the green roof down to the shared electric boat. They even have a special refrigerated room in the lobby for grocery deliveries, an interesting idea for a world where we travel by bike instead of car.

Night view of building© C.F. Møller Architects Photo by Nikolaj Jakobsen

From the green roof down to the electric boat, there are so many interesting aspects of sustainable design.