Home » Milwaukee mass timber tower officially crowned world’s tallest

Milwaukee mass timber tower officially crowned world’s tallest

by Sion Geschwindt
3D render of ascent mass timber tower in milwaukee

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has officially proclaimed the Ascent building in Milwaukee, US, as the world’s tallest timber and concrete hybrid structure. The announcement was made at the grand opening of the building on Wednesday.

Standing 25 stories and a total of 86.6 meters (284 feet), the tower surpasses Norway’s Mjøsa Tower, the former record holder, by 1.2 metres (or roughly 4 feet).

Construction of Ascent, designed by Korb + Associates Architects, began in August 2020. The first tenants began moving into the first half of the building on July 15, 2022. The second half of the building is expected to be finished at the end of August.

It was developed by New Land Enterprises and Wiechman Enterprises and built by C.D. Smith and Catalyst Construction using a digital twin that allowed for every beam, column, and panel to arrive on site ready to assemble.

It cost $80m (£67m) to construct and will provide Milwaukee’s East Town neighborhood with a total of 259 apartment units.

The Ascent under construction (credit: Thornton Tomasetti)

“You can see it for yourself, mass timber looks like nothing else – it just looks different and feels different,” said Tim Gokhman, managing director of New Land Enterprises.

“Mass timber is what we call a carbon sink. It has a negative carbon footprint. Whereas concrete and steel have enormous carbon footprints.”


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The use of mass timber is taking off globally as the demand for faster, low-carbon, modern methods of construction (MMC) skyrockets.

In fact, mass timber may become one of the most important factors in meeting the global demand for affordable housing.

“Mass timber is definitely one of the really, really important tools that architects have right now,” said Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning professor Alex Trimmer. “It’s a no-brainer.”

The approvals process for the Ascent took two years because the building exceeds Milwaukee’s 85-ft height limit for wood buildings by nearly 200 ft.

Main image: A 3D render of the Ascent tower in Milwaukee (credit: Korb + Associates Architects)


Read next: BIG and HOK unveil timber design for new Zurich Airport dock 

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