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This Office Building’s Wooden Frame Was Built Without Fasteners or Glue

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Though it’s certainly beautiful in its completed state, photos of this office building during the construction process are almost more interesting to look at than those of the finished product. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed an incredible interlocking wooden frame for the 7-story Tamedia Office Building in Zurich, Switzerland, which fits together without the need for any glue or fasteners. But luckily, much of that frame is still visible through the structure’s glass envelope.

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Housing 480 employees, the building integrates traditional Japanese craftsmanship with modern European design. This Japanese take on traditional timber frame construction is soft and rounded, fitting together in a way that’s almost reminiscent of a child’s toy. This frame upholds airy, open spaces, and many of its structural elements are entirely visible, providing character that’s unusual in an office building of this size.

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Shigeru Ban is known for his innovative architectural work using paper and cardboard tubes, and his structures are almost always highly sustainable and recyclable. In this case, using timber as the main material was a natural choice to meet and even exceed Switzerland’s strict environmental responsibility mandates, as the lowest producer of CO2 during its manufacturing process of any widely available building material.


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