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What’s it like inside the world’s newest mass timber developments?


Above our heads, the pillars and struts of the pergola looked like the masts of a gigantic ship—their edges rounded, like huge pencils, to diminish the force of winds that can pummel the tower.

Between the heft of the wooden building and the evanescence of the fog encircling it, the atmosphere was seductively calming—as long as my mind did not linger on the metaphor of the matchbox.

The New Yorker takes us on a whirlwind tour of some of the higher-profile mass timber developments that have debuted in recent years. Stops include the future site of Henning Larsen’s Fælledby development outside Copenhagen, the Oslotre As-designed seven-story Valle Wood, and Voll Arkitekter’s 18-story, 280-foot Mjøstårnet tower near Oslo, which is now officially the world’s tallest new timber building.

Mjøstårnet’s developer Arthur Buchardt was on hand to speak to its significance relative to the future of the industry as well as the role timber building could play in his country’s changing economy.

“Most of us already live in wooden buildings — only not so tall,” he explained to reporter Rebecca Mead. “Norway is an oil nation, but the oil will end. All the politicians talk about ‘green change’ — we must do something else that must be environmentally friendly, and we must use local resources. I thought I could build something like this, as an answer.”

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