CF Møller completes tallest totally timber housing block in Sweden

The nine-storey building, which sits next to Lake Mälaren in Västerås, uses mechanical joints with screws throughout, so it can be taken apart at the end of its life and its materials recycled

The housing block, designed by CF Møller, has an elevated ground floor and a double-height top floor. It is the tallest totally timber structure in Sweden, although considerably shorter than the 18-storey Mjøstårnet tower designed by Voll Arkitekter in Brumunddal in Norway which was completed early last year. 
The building’s site is located adjacent to a square and a quayside promenade along Lake Mälaren in Kajstaden, a new neighbourhood that is an extension of Västerås city centre.

Nine storerys high with four flats per floor, each floor took four workmen an average of three days to put together. Mechanical joints with screws were used throughout, meaning the building was designed so it can be taken apart so that the materials can be easily recycled. This building is part of the first stage of a 99 home project.

In construction the low weight of the material meant fewer deliveries to the construction site and a more efficient, safer and quieter working environment. 
The total estimated carbon dioxide saving over using a concrete frame is estimated to be 550 tonnes. 

Architects view
We prioritise sustainable materials, such as timber, for construction when possible. The positive ecological footprint is the most important benefit, reducing emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in the building. The low weight of the material streamlines the building process, reduces transportation and creates new opportunities for the design.

The two main challenges using CLT are moisture at the building site and insurance policies for fire. It’s therefore important to have clear policies for protecting the timber from water during the construction. There are several solutions for fire protection. It’s important that the architecture implies that it’s a timber building, therefore it’s important to include the insurance consultant at an early stage and agree upon which solutions, beyond the Eurocodes, are necessary to find the optimal design.

Modern timber technology offers many advantages. We can make greater spans than with any other material and the production line is much more connected to our digital way of designing than most other materials. With CNC cutting machines working in combination with the robustness and lightness of the material the possibilities are endless.

Ola Jonsson, associate partner, CF Møller Architects

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