World's tallest wooden office block to be built in Wellington

Property magnate Sir Bob Jones is planning to build the world's tallest wooden office block in Wellington.

He says his building will look similar to other office blocks but its structural elements will be completely different - it'll be made from compressed laminated timber.

"It'll be the safest building in Wellington," Mr Jones says, "not only that - the engineers are putting on the roof, out of sight, a heavy weight thing that counteracts any movement of the building.

"We own a lot of buildings, we own about three dozen or so office towers and we spend millions every year correcting their design faults."

Mr Jones says those faults all stem from architects concerning themselves with how a building looks.

"Mad things like sloping windows... who wants to sit behind a sloping window? Columns in the corner, you should never have columns in the corner of a building, you're spoiling the view."

The 12-storey building on the corner of Featherston St and Brandon St will be 52 metres high - a decision based on aesthetics in consideration of its neighbours.

Fifteen hundred New Zealand pine trees will be used in its construction.

"It's a totally renewable resource," Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association chief executive John Tanner says. "I calculated that the amount of timber Bob's using from the NZ forest takes the NZ forest about an hour to grow."

There are already taller timber buildings in countries like Canada and Norway, but they're residential, not office blocks.

"It's everywhere, it's the vogue now," Mr Jones says.

A building will be demolished to make way for the new one, Mr Jones says, because there are no new sites available, it's got good natural light, and successful commercial sites are all about location.

Wellington already has a wooden building claim to fame - the old government building is the biggest wooden building in the southern hemisphere.

Mr Jones' office block is due to be completed next year.