Recent architectural trends include the design and construction of increasingly tall buildings with structural components comprised of laminated wood (cross laminated timber, laminated strand lumber, or glued laminated timber. According to a project summary from the Fire Protection Research Foundation, construction is currently underway on a 10-story apartment building in Melbourne, Australia, with taller structures up to 30 stories under design in Norway, Austria and Vancouver.
The project summary says these buildings are cited for their advantages in sustainability resulting from the use of wood as a renewable construction material. Claims have been made that they are actually safer than buildings fabricated using structural steel due to the formation of an insulating char layer that forms on the perimeter of a laminated wood beam when exposed to a fire.
A Research Foundation project currently underway is looking at the performance of these buildings under fire scenarios, and includes a focus on the safety of the occupants, emissions and thermal hazards, as well as the property protection of the building and nearby structures.
Michael Green, the Canadian architect responsible for the proposed "Tallwood" tower in Vancouver, gives a TED talk on why he thinks skyscrapers should be erected from wood, not concrete and steel.