The USA’s first ever high-rise wooden structure has been given the go ahead after US legislation banning buildings with load-bearing wooden structures over 30 metres tall was overturned.

After rigorous testing to meet seismic, acoustic and fire requirements, the 12-storey building in Portland’s Pearl District which was designed by Lever Architecture to be built from mass timber, has been approved for construction by the State of Oregon and the City of Portland.

Recently, wood has become an increasingly popular choice for architects, with some even claiming that timber is set to be the ‘architectural wonder material of the 21st century’ – taking over from steel and concrete.

“Receiving a permit is a critical juncture for Framework and demonstrates the feasibility of using wood to build high-rise buildings in the US,” said project developer Anyeley Hallova.

“With our path now clear to start building, Framework will start to unlock the demand for mass timber products at all scales justifying new investment into rural manufacturing and job creation.”

Steve Lovett, CEO of the Softwood Lumber Board organisation that contributed to the research and development work on the project, added: “The innovations in wood construction that are part of the design of the Framework building will help change how America builds in the years to come.”

At the end of 2016, a seven-storey mass-timber building was finished in Minneapolis, but this 12-storey construction will overtake it as the largest.

Elsewhere on the continent, new details of Shigeru Ban’s plans for the “world’s tallest hybrid timber structure” in Vancouver have been revealed.

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