Why build it? According to him “Because he can”… or at least could.
The Sutyagin House was a wooden structure in Arkhangelsk, Russia. The 13-story, 144-foot tall residence of a local entrepreneur Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin was reported to be the world’s tallest wooden house.
Sutyagin began building in 1992 and in the original plans, it was only going to reach two stories high, a normal house. Yet he was inspired by the vernacular architecture and wooden houses of Japan and Norway to keep going.
“First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” he told the Daily Telegraph in a 2007 interview. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.”
Constructed by Sutyagin and his family over 15 years, without formal plans or a building permit, the structure deteriorated while Sutyagin spent a few years in prison on racketeering charges.
Sadly in 2008, the house was condemned as a fire hazard, and ordered to be destroyed. (Most of the town is built of wood and the concern was that it would catch on fire, fall over, and then cause the entire town to burn.) Beginning with the tower, most of the house pulled down and reduced to a pile of wooden fragments.
What remained as of late 2009 was a small two-story wooden house, roughly the size of what Sutyagin had originally planned to build, before dreams of a wooden tower took hold. These structures were finally destroyed in a fire in 2012.