Skellefteå has wooden schools, bridges, even car parks. And now it has one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. We visit Sweden to see what a climate-conscious future looks like
As you come in to land at Skellefteå airport in the far north of Sweden, you are greeted by a wooden air traffic control tower poking up from an endless forest of pine and spruce. After boarding a biogas bus into town, you glide past wooden apartment blocks and wooden schools, cross a wooden road bridge and pass a wooden multistorey car park, before finally reaching the centre, now home to one of the tallest new wooden buildings in the world.
“We are not the wood Taliban,” says Bo Wikström, from Skellefteå’s tourism agency, as he leads a group of visitors on a “wood safari” of its buildings. “Other materials are allowed.” But why build in anything else – when you’re surrounded by 480,000 hectares of forest?