Austrian Tower Will Surpass World’s Tallest Timber Building

The Donaumarina Tower acquisition is the latest by UBM Development which aims to become Europe's leading developer of timber construction

Thu 22 Jun 23


In August 2022, Milwaukee-based Ascent MKE became the tallest mass timber skyscraper in the world, edging out Norway’s Mjøstårnet Tower with a height of 87 metres.

Now the Vienna-based Donaumarina Tower is looking to eclipse both and build what would be the world’s tallest hybrid timber skyscraper at 113 metres.

Behind the project is Austrian developer UBM Development which yesterday acquired the project from real estate company Signa Group.

According to Thomas Winkler, CEO of UBM Development, the acquisition “is an example of a win-win situation, with the project a perfect fit for our strategy.”

The project is to be built as an office tower on Handelskai between the new Marina Tower and the ÖGB headquarters.

The tower is expected to have 32 upper floors and 4 underground floors with around 44,350 square meters of floor space, and the location at a U2 station means that the inner city “can be reached within 12 minutes by public transport, with the Vienna International Airport only 15 minutes away by car,” according to a statement provided to Wood Central by UBM Development.

The building floorplate provided by Skrein Studios.
The most sustainable office tower in Europe

The tower was designed by Spanish design firm SKREINSTUDIOS and UK-based Foster+Partners with a vision to develop a timeless office that sets new international standards for environmental engineering.

According to the architects, the aim was to create a new aesthetic in timber architecture and to further promote Vienna internationally as a pioneer of sustainability.

The project will use timber locally sourced from Austria. (Image credit: Skrein Studios)

The design achieves a 43% CO2 reduction in the construction of the timber tower compared to a conventional steel-concrete tower. In total, the tower saves up to 3000 tonnes of CO2.

The building will comply with the EU taxonomy and all ESG guidelines with LEED Gold certification the stated aim.

According to Winkler, “geothermal energy, groundwater use and the installation of photovoltaic modules are also planned.”

Renders provided to Wood Central suggest that the project will have an open-space design. (Image credit: Skrein Studios)
The tower uses a wood-hybrid construction method

Wood Central understands that the project will combine a cast-in-place concrete core that resists the lateral loads, with the timber structure carrying the remainder of the gravity load and diaphragm loads.

According to research, timber-concrete hybrid structures give full play to the best performance of wood and concrete and have a higher bearing capacity, fire resistance and seismic performance compared with pure wood structures.

UBM Development claims that this system helps to reduce the CO2 balance of buildings because wood can permanently bind CO2 and has successfully used this system when developing wood-hybrid buildings in Prague and Mainz.

Hybrid construction systems have emerged as a popular method for tall construction, leveraging the inherent strengths and benefits of different building materials. Footage courtesy of @MassTimberHowTos
Leading developer of timber construction in Europe

UBM Development is already one of Europe´s leading developers of timber construction projects.

According to Winkler, “the aspiration is to become the leading developer of timber construction projects in Europe.”

The company has 265,400 square meters of timber construction projects in the pipeline, “slightly more than half of them in the office asset class, the rest in residential.

By the end of next year, UBM Development will have laid the foundations for five more timber construction projects in Munich, Mainz, Düsseldorf, and Prague, including Timber Factory, Timber Peak, Timber View, Timber Port, and Timber Praha.

The Vienna-based Donaumarina Tower will become the world’s tallest hybrid timber skyscraper at 113 metres.
In 2019 Vienna-based Skrein Studios was awarded the commission following a design competition. (Image credit: Skrein Studios)


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