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Timber construction reaches for the sky

16 July, 2019

Universally praised for its ability to sequester atmospheric carbon, timber is making a strong comeback. Working through its subsidiary company Arbonis, VINCI Construction France is responding to the strong growth in demand for high-rise buildings by introducing innovative timber-based solutions.

Timber as a response to the challenges of the energy transition

Used for centuries in stud walling and timber frames, wood is now finding new roles beyond its traditional uses, and attracting the attention of building owners and investors interested in its reduced environmental footprint. Entirely renewable and recyclable, wood is a material with a positive carbon footprint, and requires relatively little energy to process. Naturally insulating and a poor conductor of heat, it guarantees a high level of thermal insulation.

VINCI Construction France subsidiary company Arbonis is a pioneer in timber construction, and an acknowledged leader in construction applications for these biosourced materials.

Timber high-rise residential buildings are becoming increasingly common

Timber construction has traditionally accounted for only 3% to 4% of all apartment buildings, and has been used mainly for buildings up to 4 storeys high. Now though, there are an increasing number of projects underway for buildings with between 7 and 16 storeys that use timber either for the shell of the building or its structure. Previous flagship Arbonis projects include the (8-storey) Woodwork building in Saint-Denis, and one of the highest timber-framed tower blocks in France (12-storey) the Treed It development in Champs-sur-Marne.

Arbonis offers fully-engineered solutions from its in-house design office to provide innovative and relevant industrial solutions to the acoustic, fire and earthquake resistance challenges that high-rise buildings must overcome.

Aqualagon des Villages Nature® Paris is an excellent example of how VINCI Construction France relies on its timber construction expertise in combination with concrete and steel, using each material within its individual optimum performance envelope.

Arbonis wins a 2018 National Timber Construction Award

CROUS Aix-Marseille University student residence (Marseille, France) - © Benoit WEHRLE

Built by Travaux du Midi and Arbonis, the Lucien Cornil student residence in Marseille is one of the tallest timber buildings in France, at 22 metres high. Joint winner in the ‘Living Together’ category of the National Timber Construction Awards, its structure uses 33 m3 of spruce glulam, and the building contains more than 6,600 m² of laminated timber panels. Workshop prefabrication of the timber-framed walls made it possible to deliver all eight levels within a short lead time and with no inconvenience to residents.

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