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Will an 80-story timber tower join Chicago’s Riverline mega-development?

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The tower could become the world’s largest made from wood if built

Could Chicago claim another world’s tallest record? If a wild new conceptual design for an 80-story wooden tower from architects Perkins + Will moves forward, then Chicago could claim the record for having the world’s tallest timber tower. ArchDaily revealed the renderings late last week and offered a few hints about the concept. According to the story, the building is a “part of a masterplan along the Chicago River,” which helps narrow down the location of the project. Considering that the design concept comes from Perkins + Will and that it’s a part of a master planned project, this leads us to believe that this could become a part of the Riverline mega development which just broke ground last month.

Dubbed River Beech Tower, the team working on the project tell ArchDaily that seeing the construction of such a design is entirely possible.

But beyond the connection to Perkins + Will, the renderings for this wooden skyscraper line up with previously released images of the future Riverline. The crossing joist design at the base of the tower is yet another giveaway. It looks like Perkins + Will is offering another design concept for what would become the tallest tower at the future Riverline project.

Here’s another look at the most recent rendering for the completed project:

While very striking and certainly unique, the wild high-rise concept from Perkins + Will is not the first proposal for a wooden skyscraper along the Chicago River. A few years ago, architect Michael Charters unveiled a vision for a 30+ story wooden skyscraper roughly at the same area along South Branch of the Chicago River. The design ultimately earned Charters an honorable mention in the eVolo Magazine Skyscraper Competition for 2013.

Construction has already started on the first tower at Riverline—a 29-story tower which will feature 420 rental units when completed. However, will this slender timber tower replace the 18-story, 251-unit tower currently planned for the site?

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