Images courtesy of Lever & Shop Architects.
The United States has always been one to do new things in a big way. In this case the concepts are not exactly new, but they are big!
The USDA announced early last week the winners of $3 million in funding grants in support of greener, carbon friendly wood based high rise construction technology. Modern engineered Mass Timber products have made the continued development of high rise timber projects around the world possible.
Between the years 1880 -1940 there were over 300 Mass timber projects built in the "new world" centres above 6 stories, with the tallest being 9 stories. These projects have not only demonstrated the viability and longevity of these structures, but many of them have served to show the amazing beauty of these authentic marvels. Shortly after World War II, steel and concrete took over the leading rolls in construction development. Timber and many other natural materials were left in the dust believed to be old and inferior materials.
Although Cross Laminated Timber was developed in the mid 90's, the modern timber renaissance did not start until around 2005 when a series of forward thinking Architects started to develop taller timber structures. Engineered Mass Timber products gave designers the reliability to make these redevelopments. Building codes around the world have had to be re-examined to allow the implementation of such tall timber projects, a copious body of testing has almost universally shown Mass Timber to exhibit extraordinary fire protection properties along with a slew of unique structural characteristics. These properties are only part of the side show though as one of the primary motivations for choosing wood based products in our modern era is to use renewable materials while reducing our carbon footprint. Mass timber inherently excels in both of these attributes.
One of the two grant winning projects consists of a 12 story, mixed use building in downtown Portland, backed by the Beneficial State Bancorp. The project is supported by a motivated group of key Oregon movers who are seeking to revive Oregon's turn of the century Timber Legacy. Lever architecture is providing the vision behind the interesting building pictures on the top left.
ARuP and SHOP Architects have teamed up to turn new leaf over in the big apple. New York is set to see a 10 story residential development at 475 West 18th. The project focuses on a drastic reduction to building energy load as well as the goal of reaching LEED platinum.
The next few years will surely be interesting as we see Mass Timber projects each take their own approach to a perfect system. How do you measure the success of these building systems?
Occupation use? Carbon footprint? Aesthetic review? Time to complete? Life-Cycle Costs? Or raw construction costs? The answer is linked to all of the above. With the right teams being assembled we are seeing the dawn of the Mass Timber Renaissance, were these projects will outrun concrete and steel alternatives in all categories. For the time being we are only limited by our dreams.
More information HERE.
Carbon 12 is an 8 story Mass Timber building planned for Portland, USA. The building is designed for primary residential use with a small commercial space below, housing two commercial spaces. Glulam vertical supports tie into concrete cores which are all fitted together with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) floor panels. The project has been developed by the Kaiser Group and PATH architecture. As the name hints at, the carbon foot print of this project has been one of the primary motivators to choose timber as the main building system. The building is set to be 25.9m (85') tall, putting it in the upper realms of existing projects around the world.
Portland appears to be undergoing its own tall timber race. The question will be weather they take hints from beyond the Cascades on construction tactics for these projects or if the will they jump into them with American style gusto and learn the lessons as they go...
The 2015 International Building Code (IBC) has made provisions for CLT, so it is likely that many of the regional hold-ups will be removed and a slew of these Cascadian tall wood buildings will become reality.
Images courtesy of: The Kaiser Group.