Sidewalk Labs unveils prototype for world’s tallest mass-timber building

Sidewalk Labs has an unveiled a digital prototype for what would become the world’s tallest mass-timber building. The architecture arm of Google parent company Alphabet plans to build a 35-storey structure from modular, interlocking parts.

Sidewalk Labs has unveiled a digital model for a 35-storey mass-timber building as part of its plans to redevelop Toronto waterfront. The current tallest buildings of this type are 18 storeys high. Timber offers affordable, efficient and low-waste construction, with parts cut in a factory and assembled on-site.

To explore the feasibility of the project, the company created a so-called Proto-Model X (PMX) for a 35-storey timber high-rise, which would make it the tallest in the world, according to an article in design magazine Dezeen.

Sidewalk Labs rendered their mass-timber 3D building model in eight design steps, starting by exploring massing options and going on to plan a fossil-fuel-free mechanical, electrical and plumbing system and create cladding options. All of the company’s mass-timber buildings would be produced from a kit that is modular and interlocking. This includes balconies, walls and kitchen pods, as well as “floor cassettes” — a panel with insulating layers that could be manufactured in 25 minutes.

“With construction costs booming in many major cities, timber is one potential solution for delivering more affordability. But instead of leading to generic high-rises, timber buildings can form dynamic neighbourhoods celebrated for their distinct architecture — not just their efficient engineering,” writes project head Cara Eckholm in a blog.

Sidewalk Labs won the bid to develop the Toronto waterfront in 2017, and has been working on it ever since.

Photo credit: Sidewalk Labs

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