Starchitect Shigeru Ban's hybrid timber tower will soar to new heights
There's a huge boom in sustainable timber construction at the moment, with everything from museums to airports being made from modern engineered wood. Renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban offers the latest example of this trend with an ambitiously tall hybrid timber tower that's currently under construction in Antwerp, Belgium.
The timber skyscraper is named Ban and is being developed by Triple Living. It will rise to a height of 80 m (262 ft) and contain 25 floors, which is not too far from the current world's tallest wooden skyscraper, the Ascent, with a maximum height of 86.6 m (284 ft).
Structurally, Ban will be quite complex and while it will of course make use of lots of timber, like other hybrid timber towers we've seen it will feature steel and concrete too, for the core hosting the staircase and elevator, plus some other structural elements.
Though the project is centered around the skyscraper, there will be another smaller timber building nearby. Between the pair, they will offer 295 residential units, at least some of which will have balcony areas and terraces. All homes will feature generous glazing to maximize daylight inside.
The skyscraper will be topped by a rooftop terrace area and there will also be a Japanese-inspired courtyard garden by landscape architect Bas Smets. The entire development will form part of a larger car-free neighborhood being built called Nieuw Zuid.
"I wanted to create a place where people can unwind," explained Ban, who is most famous for his projects made from cardboard but also does fine of work on refugee shelters around the globe and is currently distributing wood-burning stoves in Ukraine to help with the coming winter. "A green environment is relaxing. In Japan, we have a term for that: shinrin-yoku. Relax by immersing yourself in greenery."
Construction on the Ban development has already begun and is expected to be completed in December 2025. It isn't the architect's first hybrid timber tower, however, and he also previously designed the Terrace House for Vancouver, Canada.