Folks at the White House always seem to have plenty of ideas. While politicians may never seem to agree on very much, it’s not because there’s any lack of ideas – it’s because everyone thinks their own idea is better. Some of the ideas that come out of Washington seem good from the start while others take a little (or long) while to gain support to their cause. One of Washington’s newest ideas may fall into the latter category.
It turns out that the Department of Agriculture wants to focus on building wooden skyscrapers. Take a moment to make sure you read that last sentence right. Yes, the White House does indeed want to spend money researching and utilizing skyscrapers made almost completely out of wood. The big question is why.
If the idea of a wooden skyscraper seems a little old fashioned to you, that’s probably because it is. But just because it”s “old fashioned” doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work today. That is, at least, what the Department of Agriculture is hoping. They’ve even created a $1 million contest and incentive to get architects to figure out just how to do it.
At first thought, it would seem that wood would not be the best material to use when building a skyscraper. It’s probably natural to assume that it would easily succumb to fire and that it wouldn’t be nearly as strong as its steel counterparts. It turns out that most assumptions we have when it comes to wooden buildings are actually incorrect. Natural wood can be made quite a bit stronger by being pressed together in alternating directions in a factory setting. And as to the fire hazard bit, it turns out that this type of wood fares better in super-hot settings than steel does.
If you’re wondering if this has ever been tried before, it has. There is currently a 9-level apartment building in London that is made completely out of this type of wood.
While I am no architect, I do see the value in trying out new (old) ways to do things. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Image via newsmoves]