Milwaukee, WI

The City of Milwaukee will become the home to the tallest mass timber structure in the world by 2022

Joe Mertens
Ascent apartment building in MilwaukeeEngineering News-Record

Within the next year, Milwaukee will be home to the tallest mass timber structure in the world. The structure is the new Ascent apartment building, which is set to be complete in August of 2022. The building is estimated to finish at 284 feet tall, breaking the current record by three feet, and will have 259 apartments. The site of the building is at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave.

"Milwaukee is building it, not New York, not Chicago, Milwaukee is," says Anthony Wood, the CEO of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. "It's a long time since the U.S. has been able to say it's building the world's tallest anything, so it's a huge deal. I'm really pleased about that, and pleased for the parties behind it who had the guts to invest in it."

The thing that sets this building apart from others, is that it is built with timber. Contractors are using a variety of pieces of wood slabs connected together instead of using concrete and steel. Flash backward a couple of centuries and most of America's cities were made of wood, until things like fires forced us to start using brick, concrete, and steel to better protect the buildings.

The developers on the building, New Land Enterprises and Wiechmann Enterprises, have assured the public that this building will be safe and they have gone through their own fire testing of the wood floor decks and columns. It's important to mention that concrete will still be used for the elevator and stairwell shafts. The developers and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat toured the building on November 9th. "It's warmer, more beautiful, it just feels good," says Tim Gokhman, the managing director of New Land Enterprises, referring to the apartment's interior aesthetics.

The building is meant to be more environmentally friendly and take less time to build than concrete and steel buildings. New Land Enterprises, among many investors and firms across the world, are optimistic about the future of mass timber and what the buildings could offer.

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