World’s tallest wooden building opens in Ringsaker, Norway

Mjøstårnet, 18 stories high, is a record-breaking 280 feet

Mjøstårnet

Photo: Moelven
Moelven CEO Rune Abrahamsen in front of the completed Mjøstårnet.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

In September, the last beam was placed on top of the Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway, and a record was set. The world’s tallest timber building is 85.4 meters (about 280 feet) high. According to a press release, the 18-story Mjøstårnet will include apartments, Wood Hotel, offices, restaurants, and common areas. The hotel opened March 1; Mjøstårnet officially joined it on March 15. The name, Mjøsa Tower, is from its position by Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake.

The building was a partnership among AB Invest, Hents AS, Moelven Limtre AS, and Voll Arkitekter AS. AB Invest developed the idea. Hent AS was the turnkey contractor and Moelven Limtre AS the turnkey subcontractor for timber structures. Voll Arkitekter AS was the designer, the engineering company Sweco was the structural designer for Moelven.

The project created a lot of attention. During the building process, Moelven alone received more than 1,000 inquiries to visit the building site. Moelven CEO Rune Abrahamsen said that looking back, if “we and our partners did this project all over again, we would have hired a guide just to handle all the visitors and the requests coming from all over the world. We really appreciate the overwhelming interest for timber constructions. This makes us optimistic regarding a more sustainable future.”

Mjøstårnet

Photo: Moelven
The finished project, Mjøstårnet, largest timber building in the world, also fire- and Jenga-proof. Located by Lake Mjøsa, the largest lake in Norway, it boasts apartments, Wood Hotel, offices, restaurants and common areas. The hotel opened March 1, official opening was March 15.

The builder, Arthur Buchardt, points out that “Greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures are serious. Each one of us needs to become aware of what we do, what we consume, and how we live. The question on everyone’s mind is why we decided to build the world’s tallest timber building in the small town of Brumunddal in Ringsaker municipality in southeast Norway? Why didn’t the investor choose a site in a major city on the continent where he could be paid three times as much for the finished building?

“Building with timber is a key issue for me. Ringsaker fits the bill well in this respect. Ringsaker is the municipality in the world that produces the most timber-based products for the building industry. The municipality is also the one in the world that has the greatest expertise in building large, complex timber buildings. I wanted to put Ringsaker and the small town of Brumunddal on the map. I also grew up in Ringsaker and have lived here for 28 years. I am genuinely fond of the place. Building with wood contributes to a better environment. It is sustainable. Building with wood is contributing to a better world to breathe in. A better climate for everyone,” Burchardt said.

Buchardt enjoys challenges. After the Paris Agreement called for nations to make a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, Norwegian politicians encouraged people to consider climate change, local products, and sustainability. “I took that challenge literally, and without asking the politicians, I did something about it,” said Buchardt.

Initially, the height was going to top at 81.1 meters. When the building reached that height, he figured why not go higher?

“We like a challenge, and we cooperated with the contractor HENT and the engineers at Sweco to find out how we could achieve this,” says Abrahamsen.

Six elements have been built in to make Mjøstårnet fireproof.

Mjøstårnet was awarded the Gold award in the category Architectural—Mixed Use—International of the New York Design Awards 2018. The world’s tallest timber building was also awarded the Norwegian Tech Award 2018, being declared winner in the Building and Construction category.

“We are very proud to receive the New York Design Award,” said Buchardt. “To be honest, the award came as a big surprise, but we are, of course, delighted to win it. It is fantastic that our project is getting international attention like this. Mjøstårnet is the result of successful cooperation by local businessmen from the county of Ringsaker, which now has proven their top international qualities.”

“This international award is proof that the project partners’ bold and sustainable ambitions for using more timber in advanced and complex constructions is being noticed far from the shore of the building site in the small town of Brumunddal,” said Abraham­sen. “Hopefully, this will inspire others to look into more sustainable solutions for high-rise buildings in the years to come.”

You are very much welcome at Mjøstårnet, whether you are just having a coffee, a meal, staying at the Wood Hotel, or visiting someone in the offices or apartments here. It will be an experience you won’t forget!

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway.

This article originally appeared in the April 5, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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