Fighting Climate Change with Tall Timber

Gi Young Jeong
Chonnam National University, Seoul

In South Korea, permission for the construction of timber frame buildings has increased 20 percent every year since 2001. However, the proportion of proposed timber frame buildings that are residential has increased to 84 percent, while commercial use and office timber frame buildings have decreased to 16 percent. Given that a significant number of mid- to high-rise projects are mixed-use, office, or commercial, these percentages indicate a decreasing trend in tall timber frame building construction in South Korea.

Climate change and increasing days of fine dust in South Korea have begun to influence building construction, encouraging the use of renewable building materials for construction. Three different timber frame types are currently being developed for residents and tenants in South Korea. The material properties of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) made from domestic wood species have been defined as especially applicable to high-rise structures. 10-, 20- and 30-story archetypes of CLT-based buildings are currently being developed.

The three archetypes will present information regarding the design properties of CLT, connections for assembling wall to floor, wall to wall, floor to floor, and system behavior under lateral loads by seismic and wind forces. By understanding the structural behavior of these CLT buildings associated with contemporary design code, it will be possible to establish optimized archetypes of timber frame buildings of varying heights.

In order to develop mid- to high-rise timber frame buildings, however, community and government consensus for the importance of the timber frame buildings to the reduction of carbon related pollution is essential. In fact, the pathway to increasing high-rise timber frame buildings may be a global collaboration between architects and local governments.

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