Timber Tower Tops International Green Awards


A 50m-tall building made entirely of wood is capturing international attention for its innovative design and green credentials—and construction hasn't yet begun.

SAWA will be Rotterdam’s first timber tower and is being touted as the Netherlands’ “healthiest building”.

It was recently named the winner of the Green Good Design Award for 2021, as well as the ARC20 Innovation Award.

About 90 per cent of the building will be built from cross-laminated timber (CLT) including the main support structure. CLT has higher CO2 storage, is responsible for lower emissions and construction time is also reduced, compared to concrete.

SAWA will also feature large stepped green terraces for outdoor space for plants and animals, as well as a communal deck for residents.

The building will include about 100 apartments ranging in size from 50 to 100sq m with a flexible floorplan thanks to the building’s column structure.

▲ SAWA's innovative timber tower design includes generous green terraces on each level.
▲ SAWA's innovative timber tower design includes generous green terraces on each level.

A Mei architects design report said the building had a “high degree of user-friendliness and flexibility for future residents and [that] makes the building future-proof”.

“The innovation of SAWA lies in the combination of all the things that contribute to the construction of a residential building of 50m high, of which the main supporting structure consists of more than 90 per cent wood,” according to the report.

“SAWA [will be] an example project for new generations, an important step in the sustainability goals and demonstrable evidence that things can be done differently.”

Judges of the Green Good Design Award praised SAWA and its architects and designers, Mei, for the building’s “innovative, daring and circular concept”.

The international prize is awarded annually to exceptional projects that contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world.

Construction of the 100-apartment building is expected to begin at the end of this year with the official sale process in a few months.


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