Tall pioneer

At 84 metres, Hoho offers magnificent views over Vienna. The underlying structure that made one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings possible is equally fascinating.

Six years ago, an ambitious project was launched in Austria’s capital Vienna. Five wooden buildings, the shortest with six and the tallest with 24 floors, began to take shape next to Asperner See in Vienna’s 22nd district, where a new neighbourhood is emerging.

Almost three years ago, Hoho was completed. The complex, designed by architect Rüdiger Lainer, currently houses offices, shops, a hotel, a gym and a garage. With a height of 84 metres, it is one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. Although there is a long tradition of building in wood in Austria, its height makes Hoho a pioneer.

“This building is exceptional when it comes to showing what can be achieved with wood. It truly opens a new chapter in modern timber engineering. It shows that wood is a sustainable alternative, both economically and environmentally, even for tall buildings in big cities,” says Georg Jeitler, head of innovation at Hasslacher Group, which buys timber from Setra.

Hasslacher Group has supplied glulam and cross-laminated timber from sustainably man-aged forests for the five blocks, which are 75% built in wood. The structure consists of four main prefabricated elements: the load-bearing structure, facade elements, roof panels and the floor system. The load-bearing structure consists of steel-reinforced glulam and glulam columns.

The external wall elements are made of cross-laminated wood, while the floor system between the storeys is a wood and concrete composite. The facade is finished in an organic composite made of wood shavings.

One of the world's tallest

The Hoho office building, which also houses a gym and garage, is located in a newly built area in Vienna’s 22nd district.

The building comprises five parts, the highest of which has 24 floors and at 84 metres is one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings.

Visible materials. Hoho is the building that wants its materials to be seen. Where there is wood in the frame, it is exposed, and the same goes for any concrete.

“The steel in the supporting structure takes over if a glulam column breaks, distributing the weight to the other columns via the reinforced concrete elements,” explains Georg Jeitler. Glulam is a prerequisite for building this high in wood.

“Glulam has become an indispensable product in modern wood construction. The low density and high strength of glulam allows it to withstand large spans and high loads, like those in the facade columns of this building,” he continues.

Working with prefabricated modules made the construction process easier, but also placed high demands on manufacturers to deliver components with precise dimensions. The fact that the modules were built in a factory freed the building process from the vagaries of the weather, which streamlined the work and when it came time for assembly, each storey took only a week and a half to complete.

There is no question that the exterior of this high-rise pioneer makes it a landmark, but the interior of Hoho is also a showcase for the possibilities of the material and a pointer to the future of large-scale wood construction. The same type of wood that characterises the exterior can also be found inside.

“In order to prevent the wood used in the interior from becoming marked during installation or yellowing over time, it has been treated with a water-based product that is free from chemicals and has UV- absorbing properties.

Text: Hedvig Andersson
Photo: Robert Fritz

Published: 2022-07-01

About the project

Location: Vienna, Austria
Year: 2019
Gross Area: 25,000 m2
Architect: Rüdiger Lainer
Building Contractor: Handler Group
Construction Materials: Glulam, CLT, steel and concrete.

75% of the five buildings is wood.

Hoho stands for Holz Hochhaus – wooden high-rise in German.


“Glulam has become an indispensable product in modern wood construction.”

Georg Jeitler, Hasslacher Group

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