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Rocket&Tigeli building
Image: Schmidt Hammer Lassen

The world’s tallest wooden skyscraper is being built in Switzerland

The city of Winterthur will soon be home to the ‘plyscraper’ equivalent of the Burj Khalifa

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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Winterthur probably isn’t the best known of Swiss cities. It doesn’t have Geneva’s lakeside views, Basel’s cultural prowess, Zurich’s financial clout or Lucerne’s medieval architecture. The city used to be known for its industrial might, but these days it’s mostly a hub for students and high-tech manufacturing.

But it could soon gain some serious global recognition. In a few years, it’ll be home to the tallest wooden skyscraper in the entire world. Which is quite the claim to fame, eh? 

Called the Rocket&Tigeli building, the record-breaking ‘plyscraper’ will be a huge 100 metres high. Which means it’ll beat the current tallest timber tower – Norway’s Mjøstårnet building – by a whopping 14.6 metres. It’s being designed by Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen

So, why build skyscrapers out of timber? Well, it’s a lighter material than concrete and takes far less energy to build with. It’s also much, much better for the environment because it’s renewable (you can always grow more trees). And before you ask: no, reinforced timber is not particularly flammable.

The central structure of the Rocket&Tigeli building will be made of timber but, in order to fit in with the surrounding buildings, it’ll be covered in red and yellow terracotta bricks. It also won’t just comprise a single tower: the building will form part of an entire timber neighbourhood. The designs include four buildings with a leafy central plaza and a mixture of housing and retail space – including a restaurant, hotel and ‘sky bar’. Here are a couple of renders:

Rocket&Tigeli building
Image: Schmidt Hammer Lassen.
Rocket&Tigeli building
Image: Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

The Rocket&Tigeli building is set to be completed in 2026. You can find out more about the project here.

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