Architects Design a 278-Foot-Tall Building in Switzerland That’s Made Entirely Out of Wood

Courtesy 3XN

Firms 3XN and IttenBrechbühl won an international competition to design the wooden tower called Tilia Tower.

It seems like architects have been leaning towards all-glass facades with greenery space for new builds to highlight the future of sustainable design—for example, Zaha Hadid Architects' terraced Chinese skyscraper. But two firms opted to go a different route for an eco-friendly project. 3XN and IttenBrechbühl just won a design competition that included plans for a 278-foot-tall building made out of wood. 

Courtesy 3XN

Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tilia Tower will feature a dynamic façade that appears to have angular boxes stacked on top of and next to each other. Those angles make it appear as though all of those tiny boxes are open, creating a unique three-dimensional textured design. Along with creating a visually stunning exterior, the plan is also practical as the visible niches are windows or terraces. This is meant to bring those living and working in building closer to nature and have built-in shade. 

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Incredibly, the team decided to use wood as the material with which to construct the complex structure. Using wood over concrete provides an optimal indoor climate and significantly reduces the CO2 footprint. What's more, is the team will build a public square filled with biodiverse plants and microorganisms in front of the building to enhance the overall focus on sustainability and connection to nature. 

Courtesy 3XN

"We have worked with the philosophy of making a building that respects the human scale by emphasizing the connection to nature and by ensuring good daylight, which we know is important for human well-being," Jan Ammundsen, architect at 3XN, told Departures in a statement. "Wood is a consistent material in the project, which adds a natural, warm, and robust look. Wood is a fantastic building material, and it will add a fine tactile expression to the building." 

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Once completed, the tower will have apartments, retail, and a hotel. In addition to the Tilia Tower, 3XN and IttenBrechbühl designed the International Olympic Committee's new headquarters Olympic House in Lausanne.