New York -- Designs for a new 10-story high-rise made of wood are under fire. They were banned 150 years ago, so why start again now?
High-rises made of wood have been banned since the 19th century; however, there was a recent competition called the U.S. Tall Wood Building Contest that resulted in two winners. Arup, the developers of the wooden structure, won $1.5 million for their design. Under current New York building code, their design, if built, would be illegal.
In the 1800s, a series of wood structure fires destroyed much of lower Manhattan. These events led to a law that banned wood structures over six stories high in Manhattan.
"We're actually bringing back something that they learned 150 years ago was a smart idea. [Wood high-rises] spread fire incredibly fast. And, of course, they create these gigantic fire situtations which are uncontrollable for a lot of fire companies," said Glenn Corbett, Technical Editor of Fire Engineering magazine.
Building a 10-story heavy timber condo building would be a big step backwards in fire safety.
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