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Raising the topping-off wreath on SKAIO in Heilbronn, Germany’s tallest timber high-rise.
Raising the topping-off wreath on SKAIO in Heilbronn, Germany’s tallest timber high-rise.

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Topping-off ceremony for Germany’s tallest timber high-rise SKAIO

  • SKAIO lighthouse project demonstrates efficiency of timber construction
  • 10 storeys, 1,000 m3 of wood, sequestration of 1,000 t of CO2
  • Sustainable construction through cradle-to-cradle principle

After around nine months of construction, the topping-off ceremony for the ten-storey SKAIO high-rise in Heilbronn was celebrated on 2 October 2018. Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH and Ed. Züblin AG are building the high-rise to a design by Berlin-based architectural firm Kaden+Lager. With a height of 34 metres, SKAIO will be the tallest timber building in Germany.

For the construction of SKAIO to date, around 1,000 m³ of wood in the form of prefabricated wall and ceiling panels had to be installed within a very short amount of time. “Each floor was built in less than five days,” says Christoph Zimmermann, technical business unit manager at ZÜBLIN Timber GmbH. An enormous logistics challenge was the delivery of the wood panels: more than 70 articulated transports had to be organised between Aichach and Heilbronn.

In his speech, Zimmermann also emphasised the importance of the building for ZÜBLIN Timber: “For us as a timber construction company, SKAIO is a lighthouse project that demonstrates the efficiency of both timber construction in general and of ZÜBLIN Timber in particular.”

Timber as a sustainable material
Timber buildings of this size are far from being standard, yet wood is becoming increasingly interesting as a construction material – so too for housing companies. “Municipal housing companies are extremely interested in quality real estate that is also economically sustainable,” says Dominik Buchta, managing director of Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn. Sustainability plays an especially important role for Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH, as it often is the owner of the properties it builds.

In terms of its life cycle assessment, timber is unbeatable as a material in construction. Every cubic metre of wood used in construction stores one tonne of CO2 that the trees absorbed from the atmosphere during their growth. For Wolf-Dieter Sprenger, director of project management at Stadtsiedlung Heilbronn GmbH, the aspect of recoverability is another decisive advantage: “Our building will be 100 % recyclable.” This reflects the philosophy of cradle-to-cradle design according to which all material that is used in construction can also be dismantled and recovered.

Another innovative novelty for Heilbronn is the building’s tenant structure. With a 50 % share of subsidised housing, SKAIO will not be a luxury high-rise but is intended to attract a colourful mix of tenants from the middle of society.

More information about the timber high-rise is available at



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