Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Western Hemisphere’s Tallest Timber Tower Okayed

New Land's 21-story apartment tower, Ascent, gets approved by council committee.

By - Feb 20th, 2019 01:25 pm
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New Land's 21-story apartment tower, Ascent, gets approved by council committee. Back to the full article.

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2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Western Hemisphere’s Tallest Timber Tower Okayed”

  1. TransitRider says:

    Just 3 days ago, UM’s weekly “Urban Reads” post included a story about the upsurge in taller wooden buildings (including “mass timber”—which seems to me like just another name for “plywood”). The gist of the story is that this type of construction has become popular because it is cheap and better in earthquakes (which might explain why wooden buildings are considered in Vancouver or Japan). It’s only recently become legal because of relaxed building codes.

    Just 3 years ago, a modern, high-end, luxury 408-unit apartment building burned to the ground across the river from New York City; it was made of wood. Nobody was killed (the building had only 4 stories), but everything inside (including all the cars parked in the garage) was destroyed.

    Is the Milwaukee Fire Department up to facing a fire in a high-rise, wooden building?

  2. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @TransitRider – At the City Plan Commission hearing in January, the development team said they were scheduled to meet again in mid-Marchg with the fire department and code enforcement division to review the plan.

    My understanding of the technology is that CLT/Mass Timber is not supposed to burn like what happened in New Jersey, where the building collapsed and fire was able to spread quickly. The multiple layers of wood are designed to char, not burn. That helps slow the spread of the fire. In my reading on the Vancouver tower (the current tallest) other fire safety measures were put in place to slow any fire from spreading.

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