Ascent Tower in Milwaukee

The World’s Tallest Building with a Manufactured Wood Structure

The new Ascent tower is changing the skyline in Milwaukee but it’s also changing the culture of construction. The building is happening in large part because of Thornton Tomasetti, an independent organization of engineers, scientists, architects, and other professionals who collaborate from offices worldwide. Scheduled for completion next year, the 284-foot tall, 25 story building is owned by New Land Enterprises LLC and Wiechmann Enterprises, and it will house 259 apartments and a swimming pool when finished. The architects on the project are Korb & Associates.

What’s special about the Ascent tower is that it’s made of wood, and Thornton Tomasetti is currently working with the USDA’s Forest Products Laboratory to create the world’s first three-hour column fire testing program for engineered wood columns. The building has a five-level concrete car park at street level, and from there up it’s mostly glue-laminated timber beams and columns that support cross-laminated timber (CLT) floors. Best of all, the architects are exposing lots of the structural timbers so that it has a really natural ambience.

According to New Land Enterprises, “Mass timber outperforms traditional building materials in fires, earthquakes, and extreme wind conditions. But that’s not all that makes it the most exciting trend in architecture. This renewable resource has a negative carbon impact, and Ascent’s carbon benefit represents the equivalent of removing 2,350 cars from the road per year. The majority of US forest land is privately owned, and the largest contributor to deforestation in the US is lack of demand for wood products. Living at Ascent supports the health of our forests and helps fight climate change by reducing our carbon footprint.”

For more information, visit the website. Image courtesy of Thornton Tomasetti.