Mass Timber 2023

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A publication by The Architect's Newspaper. 2023

Mass Timber


The Architect’s Newspaper

Editor’s Note

Thinking Like a Forest Perhaps the most potent essay within Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, published in 1949, is “Thinking Like a Mountain,” a text in which Leopold, an ecologist, writes about a mountain which witnesses the extermination of its wolves. He describes witnessing wolf-less terrain now overrun by deer who eat through the plant life, denuding the slopes. “Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise,” Leopold wrote. The phrase “thinking like a mountain,” in Leopold’s usage, implies some form of static, eternal knowledge. To think like a forest, however, requires more nimbleness and concern for change: Forests can be grown, cut down, and regrown. A concern for the forest invites a consideration for how wood products of all varieties are sourced and manufactured. For architects, it means deeply—and quickly—reconsidering how we evaluate where our building materials come from and doing our part to reduce the carbon emissions that come from creating the built environment. According to Architecture 2030, the embodied carbon of building structure, substructure, and enclosures are responsible for 11 percent of global GHG emissions and 28 percent of global building sector emissions. The organization calls for a 65 percent reduction in this figure by 2030 and zero–embodied carbon emissions by 2040.

This special issue about mass timber offers a resource about the building system for AN’s readers. It collects mass timber news produced by the publication (pages 6 through 16) in addition to an updated map of resources— schools, organizations, manufacturers, and planned factories—which begin on page 18. In addition to a roundup of recent ecological books, which a focus on the forest (page 22). Additionally, we’re fortunate to share an excerpt from Lindsey Wikstrom’s recent and excellent book Designing the Forest, published by Routledge; read its case for developing non-extractive design languages on page 24. As the case studies indicate, mass timber is quickly becoming integrated into the repertoire of structural solutions available to architects. See one of the few mass timber buildings in Mexico, designed by Dellekamp + Schleich, in addition to projects where CLT slabs lighten carbon footprints while leaving exteriors free to express other, non-woody architectural ambitions. On the back pages, check out a recent 2×4 installation by Barkow Leibinger (page 42). And, up front on page 4, don’t miss a preview of Renew, Reuse, Regrow, a virtual event presented by The Architect’s Newspaper, which will be held on December 6. We hope to see you there. Jack Murphy



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Table of Contents

4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 22 25 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42

Preview: Renew, Reuse, Regrow CLT Turns 100; NYCEDC mass timber studio SGA’s new mass timber lab NADAAA and HDR at University of Nebraska ZGF transforms Portland International Airport Mithun designs for disability Leers Weinzapfel’s timber portfolio LEVER Architecture undergoes a shake test Winners of the 2023 Mass Timber Competition Snøhetta reimagines Vesterheim The John Morden Center wins Stirling The International Mass Timber Conference Mapping the Industry Mass Timber Must-Reads Excerpt: Designing the Forest Dellekamp + Schleich’s El Jardin Anatole ARO’s Milgard Hall WholeTrees’s Children’s Museum BuildWork’s Swinomish Library Miller Hull at the University of Washington Mass Timber Products Resources Texas A-Frame by Barkow Leibinger

Sales Manager Heather Peters Assistant Sales Coordinator Izzy Rosado Vice President of Events Marketing and Programming Marty Wood Senior Program Associate Ethan Domingue Program Assistant Trevor Schillaci Audience Development Manager Samuel Granato Events Marketing Manager Charlotte Barnard Events Marketing Manager Savannah Bojokles Business Office Manager Katherine Ross Design Manager Dennis Rose Graphic Designer Carissa Tsien Associate Marketing Manager Sultan Mashriqi Marketing Associate Anna Hogan Media Marketing Assistant Wayne Chen

Entire contents copyright 2023 by The Architect’s Newspaper, LLC. All rights reserved. Please notify us if you are receiving duplicate copies. The views of our reviewers and columnists do not necessarily reflect those of the staff or advisers of The Architect’s Newspaper.

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Renew Reuse Regrow, presented by The Architect's Newspaper, returns on December 6.

The Architect’s Newspaper’s virtual conference series continues with Renew Reuse Regrow: Virtual Summit, on December 6. Featuring a full day of presentations, the event will bring together leaders in the architecture world whose work covers adaptive reuse and the latest in mass timber progression in the industry. Particularly amid larger discussions of embodied carbon, recycling materials, and the decline in office space since the onset of the pandemic, reuse and renewal are key to the future of architecture. The day will begin with a keynote from Anna Dyson, founding director of Center for Ecosystems in Architecture (CEA) at Yale, and continues with six presentations moderated by AN editors. Dyson will explain her in-depth report, “Building Materials and the Climate: Constructing a New Future,” published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Building material waste has a huge impact, but Dyson offers actionable steps for AEC professionals to decrease embodied carbon and embrace a circular approach, moving torward a more sustainable building industry. There will be two continuing education units to complete the day that will earn you a total of 6 AIA credits. The first CEU will be guided by STI Firestop Technologies and will go on a deep dive of fire safety and the latest in fire testing for mass timber construction. With the new wave of mass timber architecture, safety and new technology is paramount in assuring the safety of the end-user. The second CEU is guided by Kova Products. This course will delve into the role modular interior systems can play in strategies for material reuse, including design for disassembly. Take away strategies for building design that increases future flexibility to extend the life cycle of a building.

Real Estate Typologies with Timber COURTESY U OF ARK ANSAS

Children’s Museum, the first in the borough. O’Neill McVoy worked closely with the museum director and the community, arriving at the main objective of the project: to connect children with nature. The museum sits on the river’s edge, occupying an old powerhouse but reimagining it with curved CLT dividers and platforms. Further education on the history and elements of wood is also encouraged in the adaptive reuse project. A Vacant Detroit Factory

A CLT Structure for Higher Education Mass timber expert Peter MacKeith from the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas offers an overview of the ways the school is collaborating with industry. His colleague, Stephen Luoni, then joins in to expand on this work and research, illustrating how mass timber is expanding into affordable housing. Contrary to outdated theories that taller and taller buildings are the answer, this duo believes one solution to affordable housing may be simply to build more widely, and sustainably. Adaptive Reuse Case Studies that Revitalize Community


With embodied carbon being an increasingly calculative tool in architecture, adaptive reuse is forging a new mode of sustainable architecture and transforming our built environment using less carbon. In Detroit, McIntosh Poris Associates is transforming Fisher 21, an old car factory into a mixed-use complex. It is one of the largest adaptive reuse projects in the city and shows the potential to revive the neighborhood that was the birthplace of Ford Motors. Revitalizing a San Diego Mall


The following projects also highlight key takeaways that embrace the themes of “Renew, Reuse and Regrow.” Attendees can look forward to learning more about these new approaches to architectural practice.

Horton Plaza was a San Diego mall, instantly recognizable due to its outlandish PoMo styling. But now it’s being transformed by interdisciplinary design studio RIOS. While at one time malls were a phenomenon in suburban America their heyday has passed. How do we revamp these large spaces that seem to cater to one way of life? The transformation will leave the mall with a more cohesive facade inspired by its new program of housing life science and research space through a net-zero approach.

An exciting and beautiful new blueprint for timber construction is the Bronx Children Museum that opened in December 2022. Chris McVow and Beth O’Neill from O’neil McVoy will showcase their experience from inception to completion of the Bronx



Although wood has been a major building element for centuries, cross laminated timber (CLT) is opening up new, more sustainable ways to use this natural material. It’s the main component of Lake|Flato’s work at the Business and Humanities District at Trinity University. A heavy timber hall integrates the new building into the campus, and the exposed structure tells the story of its creation.

The Renew Reuse Regrow: Virtual Summit is presented by The Architect’s Newspaper on December 6.





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A Centennial Affair Cross-laminated timber (CLT) turns 100.


CLT (cross-laminated timber) is a buzzword these days. Architects and building industry leaders tout it as a more environmentally-sound alternative to steel and concrete that can be used to make a variety of building types: big and small. In 2019, architects marveled at Norway’s Mjøstårnet by Voll Arkitekter, the world’s largest CLT tower at the time, which according to the CTBUH was recently surpassed by Ascent, a 284-foot tower in Milwaukee, Wisconsin designed by Korb & Associates Architects. Since then, even more CLT high-rises have sprouted up in Singapore, Vancouver, Melbourne, Rotterdam, and other cities. Regardless of CLT’s seemingly recent popularity, the technology itself is a century old, and just celebrated its 100th birthday this August. And despite general consensus that CLT was invented in the 1990s in Europe, the technology was in fact first conceived in the good ole U.S.A. On March 17, 1920, two residents of Tacoma, Washington, Frank J. Wars and Robert L. Watts, filed a patent application for a “new and useful improvement in Composite

Lumber.” The application by Wars and Watts stated: “The strips or boards thus formed are then cut into suitable lengths and such lengths are then superimposed one above the other so as to form a plurality of layers, with the grain of the wood in one layer running at an angle to the grain of the wood in the adjacent layer.” The patent application by Watts and Wars was approved on August 21, 1923. It’s unclear whatever came of the business partners, but the long deceased Tacoma industrialists may take comfort in the fact that CLT usage is expected to triple by 2030, according to Quince Market Insights. Market analysts note that CLT is presently a $1.66 billion industry in the U.S. but in just seven years, that number could be $4.24 billion.

Daniel Jonas Roche

Lumber Yard

NYCEDC launches “New York City Mass Timber Studio” to encourage wood construction.

In Brooklyn, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced this morning the creation of New York City Mass Timber Studio: a “technical assistance program to support active mass timber development projects in the early phases of project planning and design.” The new NYCEDC subsidiary’s main function will be awarding $25,000 grants to “selected teams to conduct design, technical, and economic feasibility assessments for mass timber,” according to a press release. The Studio is currently accepting applications from design teams seeking to incorporate mass timber analysis and design work into projects. “The Mass Timber Studio will help connect design teams and industry professionals with investment and technical assistance, will spur industry growth, and teach us lessons about how building code and policy can support clean, sustainable construction,” said Victoria Cerullo, acting executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “This program advances our PlaNYC goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry by 50 percent by 2033, and we are proud to support the architects, designers, and engineers who are working at the forefront of this crucial new sector.” Mass timber is considered a much more environmentally sound material compared to concrete and steel. In 2022, the NYC Department of Buildings amended its Building Codes to include definitions for

cross-laminated timber (CLT) and structural composite lumber (SCL), setting the groundwork for mass timber’s proliferation. New York City Mass Timber Studio’s goal is to make New York a world leader in buildings made of mass timber to reduce its carbon footprint. “When DOB made changes to the city’s timber construction regulations during our most recent code revision cycle, we elevated sustainable construction materials by opening the door for cross-laminated timber and other mass timber building projects throughout the five boroughs,” said New York City Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. “With the opening of the New York City Mass Timber Studio, our partners at EDC and MOCEJ [Mayor’s Office for Climate and Environmental Justice] are now ushering the construction industry through that open door, providing needed support so that more eco-friendly timber projects can go from lines on paper to shovels in the ground.” In addition to MOCEJ, the USDA Forest Service is also a partner on the venture by NYCEDC. The American Institute of Architects New York (AIA); WoodWorks, a nonprofit that provides education, resources and free technical support related to mass timber and other wood buildings; and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) will each provide technical assistance. DJR


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Mass Timber 2023

Outperforming the Status Quo

SGA’s mass timber lab reimagines research facilities and puts science on display.


The New York City and Boston-based architecture firm Spagnolo Group Architecture (SGA) has been positioning itself as a leader in mass timber innovation. But rather than just designing with mass timber, a new project is also designing for mass timber: In partnership with consultants like Thornton Tomasetti, Code Red Consultants, BR+A, Consigli, SGA is embarking on an exploratory journey to create the first mass timber research development in New England, reimagining the methods of construction for research facilities. Addressing how research spaces have “historically been inwardly focused,” the proposal uses exposed mass timber and large windows that put both the firm’s innovation and the science housed inside on display. SGA has released new renderings of this cutting-edge elevated laboratory environment to be built in Boston. The firm is proposing an experiential “community” based within two buildings. The overall design goal “prioritizes the human experience.” The project borrows inspiration from hospitality, prioritizing high design amenities, comfort, and wellness strategies like the oft-invoked immersion in “nature” that biophilic design purports. These design considerations hope to attract and retain leading researchers as tenants in the speculative space. The proposal is a celebration of wood in all its forms. The natural warmth of timber welcomes you upon arrival, making you almost forget the technical sophistication of the material. The proposed project exceeds Class A status and features industry-standard laboratory bay spacing dimensions, and a complex ventilation system and meets structural and vibration control requirements. The first building is a nine-story structure that focuses on efficient and flexible research environments, while the second, is a four-story structure that houses an array of on-site amenities aimed for early-stage research companies and start-ups, a reference to the design’s hospitality influence. But the human experience within is constantly prioritized: The buildings are imagined facing Boston’s waterfront, becoming a unique addition to the city’s skyline and offering serene views of the ocean. The first building is shorter in height, and features two wings with “V” shaped timber columns and CLT decking that embrace the wood’s natural finish. One wing will open onto a nearby park, with a colonnade that supports a canopy on the building’s roof— envisioned as a roof deck from which to view the water. The other wing, with a significantly taller mass, will house a collaborative research incubator program separated by a large atrium. Floating stairs and bridges made of timber continue to bring out the structure’s warmth. A unique detail, this taller form also features transparent openings that display the cladding elements. The proposal takes on the responsibility of addressing climate change. This narrative permeated SGA’s design process, emphasizing the importance of sustainability, resiliency, and construction efficiency. The use of mass timber for the buildings’ structural system reduces the embodied carbon of the construction, provides carbon sequestering qualities, and improves construction efficiency. According to SGA’s study, opting for mass timber will result in a “40 percent reduction of embodied carbon over a steel structure.” Its welcoming design aims not only to compete with concrete and steel structures, but to outperform them. Jo Gutierrez-Chavez Left, above: The complex consists of two interconnected buildings with diverse timber material expressions.


Left: An interior atriums brings in sunlight.

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Teachable Moments

NADAAA and HDR design a timber addition for University of Nebraska’s College of Architecture


In response to a 17 percent increase in enrollment over the last ten years, the University of Nebraska College of Architecture is expanding its footprint. The first of two phases wrapped up ahead of the fall 2022 semester. It relocated the school’s library, opening up much-needed space for more studio desks. The second phase is now under construction with the same goal of creating additional workspaces for architecture students. It will also add several new public amenities, like a new lobby, gallery, and rooftop terrace, all while improving accessibility and circulation between the new and existing facilities. NADAAA and HDR are collaborating on the flexible, 4-story addition. The expansion adds to a medley of buildings at the College of Architecture, some dating back to the 19th century. The last time the college underwent a renovation of this magnitude was in 1987. The latest expansion will add a timber-framed structure with a Kalwall-paneled facade. While disparate in their ornamentation, the existing buildings mesh tonally with the new structure’s dark facade paneling.

The prefabricated wall panels are tilted to filter in some natural light and staggered to frame views of the nearby Sheldon Museum of Art. At ground level, a series of timber beams introduce the material, which then continues inside. In addition to added studio desk space, flexible interiors will accommodate a range of programs for students and faculty— among these spaces for drafting, model making, and seminars, as well as larger meeting spaces that will include bleacher seating designed for crits and lectures. Outdoor learning spaces will be equally accommodating to a range of uses. A central courtyard and a rooftop deck will create ample space for displaying art. Overall, Phase 2 will offer 33 new and revamped studios, to be completed in January 2024. Kristine Klein


Above, left: The expansion will add much-needed space for the growing architecture program.

Above: Interiors accommodate places for leisure and work in open-plan wings.

Below: Drawing detailing building circulation and ventilation.


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Mass Timber 2023

Transit Oasis

ZGF gives America’s best airport the timber treatment.

The Pacific Northwest is thoroughly mass timber–pilled. The region is known for its great expanses of forest and has been the beating heart of the American lumber industry since its earliest heyday, but has transitioned in recent decades to more holistic understandings of its forest assets. This is on full display in the work of ZGF at the Portland International Airport. Named “America’s Best Airport,” it’s getting even better with the addition of a mass timber terminal that wows with ceilings outlines in sinuous lines of wood, punctured by ethereal skylights. Designers are regionally sourcing more than 2.6 million board feet of glulam beams and heavy timber, as well as 400,000 square feet of mass plywood panels—all locally from Oregon and Washington State forests. When complete in 2025, the new terminal will cover one million square feet. ZGF’s new terminal design highlights the rhythmic, linear quality of timber elements,

but still makes space for warm and curvaceous details. Renderings show corridors flooded with natural light from the dramatic ceilings and bold y-shaped timber columns complemented by oases of plants and even live trees. After more than 70 years of constant and ad hoc additions, expansions and renovations, ZGFs new roof and supporting timber structure unites PDX literally under one roof. Combining material responsibility with timeless warmth and beauty, the project raises the bar for infrastructural work and showcases the potential of mass timber to help even the largest technical projects meet aesthetic and sustainability goals. Emily Conklin




Left: Massive mass timber beams are curved to create a feeling of lightness.


Above, top and middle: The new terminal balances the opacity of the timber with generous glazing.

Above: The linear qualities of timber beams are embraced in a repetitious ceiling that opens up into a central skylight.

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Building Better

Mithun designs for inclusivity, responsibly, at the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth.

When designing a school, myriad social networks, technological requirements, and flexible spatial needs come to mind for any architect. But Mithun took the design process a step further for their work at the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY) campus of the Washington School for the Deaf. The new campus in Vancouver, Washington is set to welcome more than 150 students to the state’s only residential American Sign Language (ASL)-English bilingual school for deaf and hard of hearing students. A cluster of new buildings are planned to provide gymnasium, administration, library and project-based learning embedded classrooms, but the greater campus plan also incorporates new outdoor playing fields and improved parking. The project by Mithun and Skanska is the first new construction the school has commissioned since 1974, signaling a renewed energy among the school’s community. “As a school for the deaf, we serve an often-marginalized population,” said Shauna Bilyeu, interim executive director at the CDHY campus. “I want a school where people feel safe, welcomed and included in a special community the moment they walk in. A school should be a safe harbor.” But on top of careful considerations of learning technology and circulation, the

choice to use mass timber instead of earlier proposals for traditional steel structures also felt natural to the school and community. Each step of the process was also informed by Mithun’s Build Better Schools R&D study, which resulted in a cost competitive as well as efficient outcome. The glue-laminated wood columns and beams frame architectural considerations tailored to the student body, like wider corridors and shallow stair treads so students can safely communicate while walking sideby-side. Visual aids and wayfinding are also important to students traversing the campus, and are given unique attention and input. But an integral characteristic of the mass timber elements of the construction is acoustic vibration: the extensive use of this material means the school is not only more sustainable and aesthetically warm and beautiful, but it also works overtime to optimize the travel of sound between spaces and between students. By design, it extends the students’ sensory reach. “In addition to being sustainable and energy-efficient, the natural beauty of mass timber construction reflects these values for me,” Bilyeu said. At CDHY, Mithun has carefully conceived of a novel marriage between social and design values. EC COURTESY MITHUN


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What’s Next?

AN checks in with Leers Weinzapfel Associates for updates on its mass timber projects.


Leers Weinzapfel Associates (LWA) is a women-owned firm that’s been creating intentional, public-facing work since 1982 from their studio in Boston. But in recent decades, the team has been focused on expanding their knowledge and understanding of mass timber as an architectural material. Five recent projects featured here have taken timber and wood products to new heights for a variety of programs, from affordable housing to an ivy league college campus. COURTESY LWA


Williams College Davis Center Williamstown, MA Expected completion: January 2024

The Williams community has long identified the Davis Center as the heart of the campus, so a major new addition by LWA sought to seamlessly connect to the existing human scale of the plaza while also offering comprehensive, deep-energy retrofits to neighboring structures. New tenants of the expansion include the Minority Coalition, and the entire project sought to continue the tradition of intimate social gatherings and knowledge exchange. The design of the center is bold and contemporary, however, without overwhelming historic structures due to its modest scale and focus on material. Mass timber is immediately present on the facade, playing with light and shadow: windows are framed in raw timber while the rest of the facade’s mass is stained black. The entire project is pursuing Living Building Challenge Petal Certification thanks in part to the carbon sequestration of the material palette.

2 Woodland Wonders Nature Preschool Auburn, AL Expected completion date: May 2024

This is a school like any other: Auburn’s youngest students are surrounded by nature on all sides, and learning within a building made from timber harvested on-site. Operable windows, natural ventilation and daylight suffuse the entire project, redefining the standards of biophilic design and ecologically focused early education. Design and material choices intelligibly place sustainable forestry at the center of the student experience.

4 Cornell University Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science Ithaca, NY Expected completion: Spring 2025


As computer science and related technological fields continue to expand rapidly on college campuses, Cornell University sought out LWA’s expertise for a new building to complement and expand upon the Morphosis-designed Gates Hall. While the structure is wrapped in a sculptural metal envelope, a mass timber structure shines through thanks to exposed floor and roof framing throughout the building.

5 Conservation Legacy Center

Museum of Forest Service History, Missoula, MT Expected completion: Fall 2025

Forestry is an ancient science, defining the interaction of humans with the woodlands that provide such essential resources, particularly in terms of architecture. It’s fitting then that the U.S. Forestry Service (USFS) is funding the construction of a new museum to its science made entirely from wood materials redefining architectural practice today, and sustainable interactivity between people in the 21st century. This pavilion is set in a bucolic landscape and will itself be made of wood from U.S. forests and in the USFS Forest Products lab. The design is itself inspired by the trees, with branching structures of varying wood types supporting a roof structure with highly skilled craft joinery. LWA chose to make this a pedagogical structure through these decisions, and also incorporates passive heating and cooling technologies throughout the sawtooth form. EC





3 Eliot Church Affordable Housing Boston Concept design phase

Eliot Congregational Church has debuted bold, modern housing for an underserved community in Roxbury, neighborhood of LWA’s native Boston. A four-story, 15-unit addition is envisioned to occupy a site previously paved for parking, and makes stunning use of mass timber inside and out. A unique aspect of this project is not only the beautiful, but the affordable use of mass timber material to meet affordable goals. The project also employed small local contractors, paying close attention to community input and engagement.


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Dancing on the Table

A ten-story mass timber tower by LEVER Architecture underwent a shake test to investigate its seismic resiliency. On May 9, dozens gathered to watch as a tenstory tower in northeast San Diego juddered and swayed under the forces of back-to-back simulated earthquakes. The building, an experimental mockup of a mass timber tall building, was built atop the Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table at UC San Diego. The so-called table to which the building is bolted is a 3-foot-thick, 25-by-40-foot steel honeycomb platen mounted to hydraulic actuators. It moves with six degrees of freedom to accurately simulate earthquakes according to seismic records. At the test that day, it ran simulations of the major earthquakes in 1994 in Northridge, California (6.7 magnitude), and 1999 in Chi-Chi, Taiwan (7.7 magnitude). Both times, after a frightening bit of wobbling, the building righted itself back to its initial form and position, with no apparent damage incurred from the shaking. During testing, in addition to visual inspections, some 750 sensors recorded data throughout the building. The tests were a notable demonstration of resilient construction and a major milestone for the Tall Wood Project, a broad collaboration under the auspices of the National Science Foundation’s Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI). NHERI Tall Wood Project, which investigates the seismic resiliency of timber highrise construction, is led by Dr. Shiling Pei of the Colorado School of Mines and involves researchers from academic institutions around the world and many industry partners. Among those is Portland-based LEVER Architecture, whose role as the architects on the project continues the firm’s deep engagement with mass timber construction.

The test building can be seen as a modification of LEVER’s unbuilt Framework project, which won the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize in 2015. At the core of both designs is what is called a rocking-wall system: mass timber sheer walls anchored by post-tensioned rods or cables running down their centers. Thomas Robinson, LEVER’s cofounder and principal, explained the concept on site: “A typical sheer wall is anchored at the two corners of the base. On these walls, only the cables are anchored to the foundation. That allows the whole wall to rock back and forth, and then the cable pulls it back to center.” Owing to the high strength-to-weight ratio of wood, the structural strategy here is not simply to resist seismic force but rather to design means of moving with and dissipating that force across a less massive structural system. The idea is that such a system would have minimal damage in an earthquake and be immediately occupiable and quickly repairable. As Robinson put it, “We’re always thinking, ‘What can timber potentially do that other materials can’t do as well?’” With the resiliency strategy of movement at play, different types of mass timber— cross-laminated (CLT), veneer laminated (VLT), nail/dowel laminated (NLT/DLT), mass plywood panel (MPP), glue-laminated (glulam)—are used throughout the tower to maximize the conditions under evaluation. The design also incorporates an array of non-structural systems intended to move in concert with the rocking walls, including a fire-rated stair that accommodates drift, expansion joints and nested deflection-head tracks at interior partitions, and unique curtain wall systems with expansion-joint panels


hung on the lower levels of each of the building’s four corners. The tower is the tallest full-scale building ever to be tested on a shake table, a fact that indicates the scope of ambition for the project. While the evidence and data already produced by the Tall Wood Project likely will increase the visibility and implementation of resilient mass timber, the project team’s goal is to codify the knowledge it has produced.

“That work has been in progress,” explained Pei. “We’re trying to work with the USDA, the Forest Service, and practitioners to try to go to that next step, to introduce this into our building code in the next updating cycle. Hopefully we’ll have a rocking wall system in our code by 2028.” Luke Studebaker is a writer and an architect living in Los Angeles.

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Wood of Honor

Softwood Lumber Board and USDA Forest Service award over $2 million to five projects in the 2023 Mass Timber Competition

A mass timber overbuild in New Hampshire, new affordable workforce housing in Arkansas that combines traditional wood framing and CLT, and a wellness center for Native Americans with exposed timber interiors are among the five projects awarded grants in the 2023 Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon. The competition is managed by the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and USDA Forest Service. A total of $2.2 million will be distributed among the winning projects, each of which champion mass timber as a building product and process. “This year’s winning projects will not only provide much needed housing and gathering spaces for their communities, but they

will also demonstrate viable paths for other teams to build for well-being, commercial adoption, resilience, and a minimal carbon footprint,” said Ryan Flom, SLB chief marketing officer. Awarded projects were evaluated by staff at WoodWorks for technical rigor and the winners were chosen by an independent jury with professionals with expertise in architecture, structural engineering, construction, and forest products. Winning design teams will be asked to present on their design concepts and lessons learned in the design/construction process. Brief descriptions of the wining projects are included here. KK


CODA Detroit Design Architect: OOMBRA Architects Architect of Record: OOMBRA Architects Client/Developer: Brush Park Properties / InDevelopment Partners Structural Engineer: JDH Engineering (overall project and engineer of record) and Britt Peters and Associates (mass timber design engineer) General Contractor: AM Higley


Up@310 Lofts Design Architect: Lignin Group in collaboration with Tim Olson Architect of Record: Banwell Architects Client/Developer: 310 Marlboro St. Mass Timber Engineer: Entuitive General Contractor: Lignin Group

In Keene, New Hampshire a vertical addition using mass timber glulam and CLT floor slabs was inserted on top of an existing two-story building. The addition brings housing to an area in need of new residential construction. The architects chose mass timber for its light weight, so as to not build a heavy massing on the existing structure.

This mixed-use residential project takes cues from a former carriage house, mirroring its architectural detailing. The housing complex surrounds a new carriage house on the site, to combine residential, office space, and restaurant in a mass timber structure, in a reference to the use of wood in neighboring historic buildings.


Via Design Architect: A226 Architect of Record: Modus Studio Client/Developer: Blue Crane Structural Engineer: Tatum, Smith, Welcher; Aspect Structural Engineers General Contractor: Arco Construction

For Via, workforce housing in Northwest Arkansas, two of the four buildings will be constructed using traditional wood framing elements. The two other complexes will be built from a kit of CLT panels and prefabricated modules. For the design team mass timber was appealing choice for its fast assembly.


The Village SF Wellness Center Design Architect: PYATOK architecture + urban design Architect of Record: PYATOK architecture + urban design Client/Developer: The Friendship House Association of American Indians Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers General Contractor: Cahill Contractors

In San Francisco a mixed-use development creates space for urban Native Americans to set up offices, gather as a community, attend to medical needs, and grow food. Mass timber will be left exposed on the interiors of the sixstory building. Type IV-C timber will be used on the project, the product has a two-hour fire resistance rating (FRR).

Woolsey Gardens Design Architect: Solomon Cordwell Buenz Architect of Record: Solomon Cordwell Buenz Client/Developer: Northern California Land Trust Structural Engineer: Tipping Structural Engineers Preconstruction Services: Swinerton Builders, Timberlab

Designed by SCB in Berkeley, California for lowto moderate-income households this multifamily highrise aims to be a model of permanent affordable housing and sustainability. In addition to its use of mass timber the housing community will also be realized with solar panels and high efficiency mechanical systems. Mass timber was an obvious choice for the design team for a number of reasons, among this its carbon sequestering properties and a way to address overstocked forests in Northern California.

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The Architect’s Newspaper

The New Western Home Snøhetta Designs a Commons for Norwegian life in America.

When Norwegians immigrated to the United States in the early 19th century, the lure of vast open lands drew many to Midwestern regions—generally taken from Native Americans and newly available for homesteading. Set in the hilly northeast corner of Iowa, the town of Decorah was one of these immigrant settlements. They saw this new land as their “Western Home”—Vesterheim. Today, Vesterheim is the name of the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School—a hybrid of craft and art collections, education, and architecture. In 2018, Snøhetta began an ambitious master plan with the goal of uniting the disparate folk and vernacular buildings, 19th century commercial structures, and multiple entrances around the complex. Completed in September, the 7,600-square-foot Vesterheim Commons has both unified and clarified the institution. Inspired by traditional boat construction, Snøhetta designed the entrance canopy as a horizontal sail sweeping upward over the street. The canopy’s curved edge and Douglas fir construction contrasts with the flat, lighttoned brick and glass of the new facade. The Vesterheim celebrates traditional connections between people, architecture and landscape through ecological restoration of the landscape surrounding the folk buildings collected on the site. This folk architecture was built with local materials—tree logs and local light-colored limestone—with solar orientation in mind. The new Vesterheim Commons is designed with many of the same regional materials. Its mass timber frame was fabricated by Bell Structural Solutions in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and the exterior walls built of dramatic 2-by-20-inch bricks from

Glen-Gery in Adel, Iowa. The bricks’ tactile quality and color evoke the limestone seen in both Vesterheim’s restored buildings and Norway’s dramatic landscapes carved by glacial melt. Visitors enter the new Commons via a grand new ground floor lobby with direct connections to Vesterheim’s diverse programs. As the largest public space, the lobby can host 100 people for lectures or performances, host special events, and even transform into a classroom. On opening day in September, the lobby served as a cool respite from the hot sun outside. Snøhetta’s project lead, Matt McMahon, describes the design’s solar strategies for daylighting throughout the year: The lobby’s wood slat ceiling rises up inside, bringing in more daylight from the street. In summer, when the sun is high, the canopy shades the sidewalk and entry beneath. In the winter, the lower sun casts light deep into the lobby. At the center of this public space, a dramatic oculus draws views upward to the second floor gallery. Constructed with blackened cedar, the form evokes a ship’s prow rising through the floor. The architects worked with Arup to line the oculus’s interior with cedar planks of varying sizes to diffuse sound from below. Climbing farther, a third floor houses artifact exhibits, a research area, and a digital center. With the innovative work of Snøhetta leading the museum and research center into a new era, Vesterheim’s collections and programming will continue to grow and serve a global audience. Frank Edgerton Martin is a landscape historian, architectural writer, and design journalist.



Left: The architects maintain the same sidewalk scale as neighboring buildings on Main Street. MICHAEL GRIMM

Top: The canopy is inspired by a ship's sail and made fully of timber.

Above: The "oculus" within connects the galleries with a dramatic sculptural work in timber.

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Mass Timber 2023


The Future of Care


Mæ’s brick and timber John Morden Centre wins the 2023 RIBA Stirling Prize.


Top: Brick masonry was used on the facade to remain consistent with the historic campus.

Top, right: An airy internal colonnade makes for a perfect meeting place while welcoming nature.

Above: Timber elements are clearly expressed in interior spaces.

At the John Morden Centre, a timber “cloister” subtly contrasts the collection of brick buildings at Morden College in Blackheath, just south of London. The retirement community building designed by Londonbased Mæ was named the winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2023. The annual prize is the most prestigious architecture prize in the U.K. which annually recognizes the design of a new building in the country. “The John Morden Centre is a place of joy and inspiration. It sensitively and seamlessly integrates medical facilities and social spaces, delivering a bold and hopeful model for the design of health and care centres for the elderly,” said OMA partner Ellen van Loon, who served as the chair of the prize’s jury. “Creating an environment that lifts the spirits and fosters community is evident at every turn and in every detail.” While the center providing house care, medical facilities, and social spaces for the elderly is new, Morden College was established over 300 years ago. Much of its building stock is recognizable for its stellar masonry work from the desk and hands of architect Sir Christopher Wren and his mason Edward Strong. The John Morden Center’s use of brick references these existing Grade I–listed buildings across the campus. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) was used to form its structure, conceived as a series of low-lying volumes. The timber nets the buildings together forming “cloisters” that span and connect the brick structures. Mæ chose CLT for its low embodied carbon. Other sustainable methods implemented on the project include the use of a lime-based mortar between the brickwork so the brick can be reused in the future. Chimneys were added on several of the volumes as a means for

passive ventilation. The building considers the needs of its main occupants. Along pathways there is built-in seating, patterns on the floor delineate spaces for those with dementia, concealed handrails are built into the woodwork, and the ground is level. “The John Morden Centre has been a really fulfilling project to work on,” said Alex Ely, founding director of Mæ. “At a time when adult social care is in a perilous state, this award demonstrates that there is hope for the sector and the project offers up a model for others working within health and care— inspiring them to create environments that positively impact on people’s mental and physical health.” Beyond residential and medical programming, the complex houses numerous social and recreational spaces, among these an art room, hair and nail salon, a cafe, and a theater for events. A connection to the outdoors is apparent across the site with benches placed alongside grass patches, matured trees, and garden beds. The John Morden Centre beat out a shortlist of projects to win the RIBA Stirling Prize 2023, a list that included housing projects and university buildings. The prize’s jury was headed by van Loon; other jury members included: Niall McLaughlin, founder and principal at Niall McLaughlin Architects and past RIBA Stirling Prize recipient; Armstrong Yakubu, senior partner at Foster + Partners; Mona Chalabi, journalist and writer; and Marek Suchocki, head of industry associations strategy at Autodesk, a sponsor of the 2023 RIBA Stirling Prize. Rachael Owens of Buckley Gray Yeoman, served as the jury’s Sustainability Expert. KK

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The Architect’s Newspaper

Progress and Possibility

The International Mass Timber Conference brought together architects, contractors, fabricators, and foresters

Mid-rise category from WoodWorks, a nonprofit that offers project support, education, and resources related to wood buildings. (It also cohosted the conference with the Forest Business Network.) The building completed in 2022, and its cross-laminated timber (CLT) was imported from Europe, firm founder Ben Waechter explained, because local providers couldn’t handle its extra details, such as a CLT core and stairs. But were it constructed today, Waechter explained, Mississippi’s wood would be locally sourced. That growing regional capacity can also be seen in larger-scale projects like the Portland

“Most folks are more than willing to be part of the mass timber solution. But it’s not actually a place yet that it’s driving demand,” said Joseph Furia of Portland’s World Forestry Center, a nonprofit devoted to sustainable forestry. “There are a lot of pain points in the system that are making it difficult to scale. How do we change that math? I run into people who are saying, ‘Where’s the beef?’ Show me the that you’re actually going to be able to do this project faster, cheaper than conventional products.’” The 2023 International Mass Timber Report, released at the conference, says that


Lindsey Wikstrom presents her new book, Designing the Forest, at the conference.

At the International Mass Timber Conference, held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland from March 27 to 29, a mood of celebration filled the air as a series of overlapping communities came together to acknowledge and plan for mass timber’s growing (if still small) presence in mainstream construction. While some industries may be struggling to attain pre-COVID attendance levels, according to Arnie Didier, cofounder of the International Mass Timber Conference and COO of the Forest Business Network, the International Mass Timber Conference “had just under 3,000 this year, almost double our 2019 numbers.” The packed exhibit hall was a case in point. “There’s clearly a tide raising all ships,” said Dean Lewis, who directs mass timber and prefabrication for construction giant Skanska USA and has attended the conference since its outset in 2016, when there weren’t enough booths to fill the space. Now, however, “In this hall we’ve got fabricators, installers, suppliers. You’ve got people that sell the equipment, people that sell coatings. There’s even a glue booth.” The opening keynote was a panel discussion about equity in mass timber and beyond hosted by Portland developer and U.S. Green Building Council board chair Anyeley Hallová. “Real estate development in the United States is almost exclusively white,” Hallová said, citing figures showing less than one percent of U.S. real estate developers are Black or Latinx, only 2 percent of licensed architects are Black (just 0.4 percent Black women), and 0.2 percent of construction companies are Black-owned. Yet the mass-timber movement’s relative newness in America means opportunity. “We can’t wait for something to move forward before we make it equitable,” panelist Chandra Robinson, LEVER Architecture principal, said. “We have to start with equitable practices.”

A keynote the following day featured Vancouver, Canada architect Michael Greene, who presented “Buildings of the Future: The Next Evolution of Wood.” Recent work by Greene, long among the profession’s foremost advocates for tall wood buildings and skyscrapers, includes 2020’s Peavey Hall for the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, which featured the first CLT rocking wall system in North America, able to move and self-center during an earthquake. The conference brought together a constellation of architects and academics. Members of Pritzker Prize–winning architect Shigeru Ban’s firm were here to promote its new book Timber In Architecture. Though Ban may be best known for experimenting with paper structures or pursuing humanitarian design solutions, he is also a timber innovator. “It’s not wood for wood’s sake,” cautioned Dean Maltz, partner at Shigeru Ban Architects. “He’ll pick the appropriate material for the appropriate place.” Yet the book makes a point of highlighting process and collaboration: It shows how to work with structural engineers and other partners to stretch wood’s material capabilities. Lindsey Wikstrom was at the conference for an event celebrating her book Designing the Forest and other Mass Timber Futures. A founding principal of Mattaforma and a professor at Columbia GSAPP, Wikstrom calls for architecture, material sourcing, and forest management to be considered together as a single design problem. She said writing Designing the Forest was “about inspiring young architects to know their worth: that they have agency in a climate emergency to do work that matters,” Wikstrom explained. Wikstrom spoke at Mississippi, a mass-timber building designed and occupied by Portland firm Waechter Architecture, which recently won a 2023 WoodWorks National Design Award in the Commercial/


Ben Waechter and Lindsey Wikstrom leading a discussion.

International Airport’s renovation, currently under construction and designed by ZGF Architects, which includes a mass-timber ceiling of some 380,000 square feet, or nine acres. The wood was sustainably harvested within 300 miles of the airport and can be traced back to 11 landowners in Oregon and Washington. How much market share are mass timber—and CLT in particular—gaining? According to separate research by IMARC Group, the global CLT market is projected to experience a 12 percent annual growth rate from 2023 to 2028, reaching about 45.7 million square feet. “There was a lot of work done on the codes for the 2021 code and the 2024 code. A lot of those hurdles are being cleared now with time and expertise, whether that’s in commercial buildings, tall wood buildings, or modular affordable housing and residential,” Didier said. “You’re starting to see some of those switches as well.” Even so, IMARC projects that by 2050, CLT would represent about 0.5 percent of new urban buildings: a still very modest share of the market. That’s why another key community at the International Mass Timber Conference, the timber industry, is retaining a healthy skepticism.

while mass timber can cost up to 15 percent more than conventional construction, the median project premium is actually less than two percent. But, the report cautioned, these figures do not consider mass timber buildings’ “additional potential to capture more in lease rates and lower tenant turnover,” or to reduce construction time up to 25 percent. “We still have a shortage of builders and projects looking at mass timber because it has to be fabricated in a factory, and that’s a very different way of building that most of the construction industry is not familiar with,” explained Greg Howes, a partner at Portlandand Vancouver, Canada–based mass-timber manufacturer Cut My Timber. “They don’t know how that will impact the labor cost. So you have a lot of bidding that’s happening based on minimal experience. But that’s inevitable in a market where it’s a relatively new project. Essentially, we have a very, very limited supply chain. But a lot more is about to come online.”

Brian Libby is a Portland–based freelance journalist.

A mass timber mockup in progress on-site at the conference.


Beautiful, CarBon negative, and duraBle BiophiliC StruCtural SyStemS

WholeTrees connects architects and owners to well-managed forests and provides carbon-smart, beautiful timber products

18 Mapping the Industry AN shares its 2023 map of the schools, organizations, and manufacturers leading the way in mass timber research and development. This emergent technology changes quickly, so AN continues to track developments annually and report regularly on mass timber innovation in North America. Schools University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, British Columbia The University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design is a unique intensive year-long program that focuses on modern wood structures. The MEng program is housed in the Wood Innovation and Design Center in downtown Prince George, and the program features the Wood Innovation Research Lab, a lab designed to Passive House standards where researchers test next-generation materials for wood research. 1

University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada The University of British Columbia’s campus is home to one of the tallest mass timber buildings in the world, the 18-story Brock Commons Tallwood House. This student housing project was supported by the Canadian government’s Tall Wood Building Demonstration Initiative. This building helps ease the student housing shortage on campus and serves as a living lab where researchers study the long-term performance of mass timber structures. 2

University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta The Advanced Research in Timber Systems (1ARTS) research group is part of the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Alberta and is led by Professor Ying Hei Chui, the chairholder of the NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Engineered Wood and Building Systems. The ARTS group focuses its research on the next generation of mass timber construction with new connection techniques. The main focus of the research is on the next generation of mass timber construction with new connection techniques. This field includes the structural and serviceability performance of mass timber elements, especially the performance of lateral load resisting systems. Furthermore, design methods of connections containing inclined self-tapping screws, and the acoustic and vibration performance of mass timber panel-concrete composite floor systems are investigated. Our goal is to help the construction and wood industry to move from light wood-frame to mid- and highrise mass timber construction market. 3

Washington State University Pullman, Washington At Washington State University’s Composite Materials & Engineering Center (CMEC), the Wood Materials & Engineering Laboratory WOOD MATERIALS & ENGINEERING LABORATORY allows students to get hands-on experience with the design, testing, fabrication, and construction of CLT panels. CMEC has partnered with resin suppliers and construction companies to design, certify, and test mass timber systems for new and existing markets. 4

Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon Oregon State University's (OSU) College of Forestry is home to the TallWood Design Institute (TDI), a collaboration between OSU's College of Engineering and the University of Oregon's College of Design. At TDI researchers and practitioners drive research and education on advanced timber products manufacturing, design, and construction. TDI is working on 5

multiple projects focused on durability, serviceability, and adhesives, seismic and structural performance, the fire performance of mass timber, and more. The Oregon Forest Science Complex incorporates extensive use of CLT, and it comprises the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center and the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory at OSU. University of Oregon Eugene, Oregon This year, the University of Oregon was awarded $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation to support the university’s efforts in innovations in mass timber architecture, engineering, and construction in the Pacific Northwest. The funding will help university researchers tackle the challenges that Oregon and Washington residents face due to the housing crisis and climate change by using mass timber as a solution. 6

Colorado School of Mines Golden, Colorado Working in collaboration with industry partners and other schools on this list, researchers at Colorado School of Mines are using a $1.7 million National Science Foundation grant to develop mass timber structures designed for seismic performance in earthquake-prone regions. With the goal of proving that sustainable timber buildings are just as safe as those built with more conventional materials and with higher resilience standards, the group has successfully tested a two-story building on the University of California, San Diego’s “shake table,” is in the midst of testing a full-scale 10-story structure as part of the NHERI Tall Wood Project. 7

Texas A&M University 8 College Station, Texas The School of Architecture has conducted studios and building experiments about mass timber, including the realization of a “construct” object fabricated by students like by Assistant Professor James Michael Tate. The school’s research operates in concert with the state’s forestry service. Rice University Houston In addition to mass timber research previously completed by School of Architecture professors Albert Pope and Jesús Vassallo, the school is now the site of a new mass timber dormitory designed by Barkow Leibinger with Kirksey Architecture. 9

Organizations Forestry Innovation Investment Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Publicly owned and funded by the provincial government, Forestry Innovation Investment is British Columbia’s wood products marketing agency. The agency works to sustain the Canadian timber industry by developing new market segments and export markets, advancing wood use and construction technologies, and marketing outreach to position forest products. 1

APA—The Engineered Wood Association Tacoma, Washington This nonprofit trade association represents and regulates engineered wood manufacturers in North America and promotes innovative solutions and improved practices. 2

Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) West Linn, Oregon The SLB is an industry-funded initiative established to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products in outdoor, residential, and nonresidential construction. Programs and initiatives supported by the SLB focus on increasing the demand for appearance and structural softwood lumber products in the United States, including mass timber and hybrid building systems. 3

Think Wood West Linn, Oregon Think Wood provides commercial, multifamily, and single-family home design and build resources to architects, developers, and contractors. In addition to its online educational resources, including e-books and continuing education units related to tall wood and mass timber, the organization identifies and profiles projects and professionals using North American softwood products in innovative ways. 4

Oregon Mass Timber Coalition Portland, Oregon The coalition is a partnership between leading research universities and government agencies. The effort includes the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, TallWood Design Institute, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Business Oregon, Oregon Department of Forestry, andThe Port of Portland. Together they aim to support and expand the growing mass timber industry in the region and promote sustainable practices. 5

Forest Business Network Missoula, Montana The Forest Business Network (FBN) helps businesses that manufacture, design, and sell products made from both hardwood and softwood. FBN offers timber consulting services based on its expertise in “underutilized timber and woody biomass,” which include business assistance, grants, and custom reports. 6

Manufacturers StructureCraft Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada (CLT, DLT, NLT, glulam beams, LVL, LSL, PSL) StructureCraft is an engineer-led construction firm that creates a multitude of mass timber products, including its signature DowelLam, the first all-wood panel manufactured without glue or nails in North America. Its team includes engineers of record, computational designers, fabricators, and builders. Bringing craft traditions to high-tech construction, StructureCraft partners with architects, owners, and general contractors across North America and abroad to engineer-build timber and hybrid structures. 1

Massive Canada Building Systems Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada Massive Canada is a mass timber and modular building manufacturer in British Columbia. They have upcoming manufacturing facility projects with an aim to help affordable housing in the region, as well as helping British Columbia achieve their sustainability goals with the use of low emission mass timber. They have interesting planned projects including North America’s first underground parking garage using mass timber to reduce the amount of heavy carbon footprint materials like concrete, cement and steel. 2

The Architect’s Newspaper

Western Archrib Edmonton, Alberta and Boissevain, Manitoba (Glulam) From two facilities in Boissevain, Manitoba, and Edmonton, Alberta, Western Archrib designs and manufactures glue-laminated structural products, including beams, columns, studs, and decking. It also provides custom fabrication with 3D-modeling software for CNC framing, steel connections, and finishes 3

Mercer Mass Timber Spokane, Washington; Penicton, Canada; Conway, Arkansas (CLT and glulam) Mercer Mass Timber has three factory locations, two of which are on the West Coast: a 37-acre facility in Spokane, Washington, and a three-facility factory complex in Penicton, Canada. Mercer purchased Structurlam in June, and its location in Penicton, Canada, is a former Structurlam factory. 4

Vaagen Timbers Colville, Washington (CLT, glulam beams) Vaagen Timbers uses high-tech milling machines to produce products at its Colville, Washington, facility, as well as at two other sites in Usk, Washington, and Midway, British Columbia. It uses lumber-scanning technology and a portable HewSaw machine to handle underutilized small logs. 5

CutMyTimber Portland, Oregon (Timber product processing) According to the U .S. Forest Service, CutMyTimber is among the top timber product processors in the United States—a growing subsector in the field of manufacturing. With offices in Portland and North Vancouver, Canada, the company uses CNC machines to create customized products or building systems for projects around the world. 6

Freres Engineered Wood Lyons, Oregon (Mass plywood panels) Freres Engineered Wood’s mass plywood panels (MPPs) are a composite, veneer-based engineered wood product that can be produced using 20 percent less wood than CLT panels. With its MPPs and mass plywood lams, Freres Engineered Wood is certified to produce every structural element for a multistory mass timber structure. Specializing in using small-diameter wood for engineered wood products, Freres now has an Environmental Product Declaration and a life cycle assessment that substantiates its closed-loop, environmentally sustainable manufacturing processes. 7

Rosboro Springfield, Oregon (Glulam, LVL, parallel strand lumber) Rosboro is the largest producer of glulam beams in North America. Other than its diverse range of Douglas fir glue-laminated timber products, it also produces sawn lumber and studs made from western regional tree species. All manufacturing takes place in two locations in Oregon: Springfield and Veneta. 8

D. R. Johnson Riddle, Oregon (CLT panels, glulam beams) D. R. Johnson was the first company in the United States to obtain American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certification to manufacture CLT panels. An affiliate company, Riddle Laminators, has been making glulam beams from Douglas fir and Alaskan yellow cedar for over 50 years. 10

SmartLam North America Columbia Falls, Montana; Dothan, Alabama (CLT panels) SmartLam produces CLT panels for floors, walls, roofs, and elevator and stair shafts, and supports its products with design, engineering, and consulting services. The company owns two facilities in Montana and the Southern pine lumber factory in Dothan, Alabama. 10

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Mass Timber 2023

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Euclid Timber Frames Charleston, Utah (ICLT panels) E u c l i d m a n u fa c t u r e s i n te r l o c k i n g cross-laminated timber (ICLT) for walls and roofs. Unlike CLT, ICLT panels are produced without the use of fasteners or adhesives, relying instead on tongue-and-groove and dovetail joints.Using Nature’s Technology, Euclid Timber Frames has developed a unique sustainable building system. The system uses no chemicals or adhesives. ! It has been shown to improve the health and well- being of the building’s occupants while improving the environment both in the long and short term.

Kalesnikoff Lumber South Slocan, British Columbia, Canada (CLT panels, glulam beams) Kalesnikoff Lumber is opening a Can$35 million plant in South Slocan, British Columbia. The 110,000-square-foot factory is the 81-year-old company’s first foray into mass timber.

Lion Lumber Phoenix, Illinois; Lufkin, Texas (CLT panels and CLT mats) Formerly known as Sterling Lumber Company, Lion Lumber is a 70+-year-old family company that manufactures cut-to-length lagging lumber, industrial lumber for transportation project shielding, and pallets and skids for shipping and unloading. Specializing in CLT, Lion Lumber also offers design and build services for custom work. In 2021, it opened a massive new facility in Lufkin, Texas, where it continues to make its signature TerraLam mat.

Massive Canada Building Systems Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada The government of British Columbia invested CA$10 million for Massive Canada’s CA$75 million mass timber manufacturing facility project. Massive Canada Building Systems is currently renovating an existing 91,000-square-foot manufacturing plant that will produce prefabricated laneway homes, apartment units, commercial projects, and townhouses using mass timber. This is an effort to reduce construction time, generate more affordable housing and reduce carbon emissions in British Columbia.



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20 Mapping the Industry

The Architect’s Newspaper

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18 14 University of Maine Orono, Maine The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center based at the University of Maine is working with regional stakeholders to promote construction of mass timber buildings, promote CLT manufacturing through development of a business attraction package, support high performance grades from SPFs lumber, and conduct analysis of carbon impacts of mass timber construction. 15

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Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan MSU has realized the state’s first mass timber building and operates MassTimber@MSU, a multidisciplinary partnership between the Department of Forestry; the School of Planning, Design and Construction; and the Center for Community and Economic Development. In addition, are developing mass timber adhesives made from lignin, tools to predict construction costs and timelines for mass timber buildings, and mass timber made from salvaged lumber content in mass timber.



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University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, Massachusetts Within the Building and Construction Technology program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, researchers received National Science Foundation and state funding to model and test advanced angle-ply CLT panels made with underutilized tree species Eastern hemlock and Eastern white pine. The research is conducted inside a CLT building designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates. 17

University of Toronto Toronto The University of Toronto has plans to build a Tall Wood Academic Tower that will reach a height of 14 stories for its St. George campus. Designed by Patkau Architects and MJMA, the timber-and-concrete hybrid tower will serve as a mass timber demonstration project in Canada’s largest city. The country’s federal and Ontario governments provided initial funding for this initiative on the main campus in downtown Toronto.

Yale University New Haven, Connecticut The Yale School of Architecture offers a joint degree with the university’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies that focuses on sustainable architecture alongside ecology and policy. The two schools have also partnered with local architecture firm Gray Organschi to support the Timber City research initiative, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Additionally, a number of interdisciplinary consortia within Yale have established platforms for mass timber research, including the Yale Building LAB and the Yale Carbon Containment Lab.

University of Ottawa Ottawa, Canada The University of Ottawa’s Department of Civil Engineering is home to a research program dealing with the response of mass timber systems to the effects of extreme loading such as wind storms, earthquakes, and blasts. For the past fifteen years, introductory and advanced timber design courses have been offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia Researchers at Virginia Tech have been experimenting with mass timber for more than a decade. In 2018, faculty and students at the School of Architecture + Design designed a CLT train-watching tower as part of a tourism development plan in Radford, Virginia. Their project was completed in September 2019 and recognized by the AIA Blue Ridge design awards.


Schools Lakehead University Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada A department within Lakehead University’s Faculty of Natural Resources Management, the school’s forestry program focuses on the technology behind contemporary forest management. 10

Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture (MSoA), which opened in 2013, emphasizes timber architecture design and hands-on knowledge of wood craftsmanship in its curriculum. In 2017, the school completed a new building with a wing constructed of CLT that houses an atrium with a wood-burning fireplace, a classroom, and a lecture hall on the ground floor, the school's 11

library on the second floor, and a green roof and terrace. The building, designed by Toronto firm LGA, won a 2017 Ontario Wood WORKS! Wood Design Award and a 2018 OAA Design Excellence Award, and MSoA hosted the first International Wood Educators Conference in September 2019, with keynote speaker Brian MacKay-Lyons. George Brown College Toronto Limberlost Place is an upcoming 10-story academic building on George Brown College’s campus that will be made of mass timber sourced within Canada. Construction for Limberlost Place is set to begin this year and, once complete, the building will house the Tall Wood Research Institute, a forum for students and faculty to research and develop ideas related to mass timber construction. 12




21 East University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas The University of Arkansas is an emerging center of design and research in mass timber and wood products. This program is unique in its timber- and wood-specific design-focused processes and hands-on learning environments. The M.Des. concentration in Integrated Wood Design soon will be supported by the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation, a planned center geared to expanding the use of wood in architectural design, construction and product design. The Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design Urban Design Build Studio (UDBS) at the University of Arkansas planned courses that explore the state’s rich forest lands. UDBS is focusing on architectural design that uses timber and wood in an effort to benefit the state’s economy. The STREET LEGAL advanced design-build studio course was a recipient of The Softwood Lumber Board and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 2023 Timber Education Prize, as it focuses on capitalizing Arkansas’ abundance of wood in an effort to address the affordable housing crisis in Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Region. 20

Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina Through the Wood Utilization + Design Institute, Clemson University’s engineers and architects are innovating with mass timber. In late 2018, the university’s school of architecture patented the result of multiyear research into Sim[PLY], a wood construction system that the school has already used to build multiple structures. 21

Georgia Tech Atlanta The university is now home to the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, designed by The Miller Hull Partnership in collaboration with Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra company. 22

Auburn University Auburn, Alabama Auburn University has received a Wood Innovation Grant to establish a Mass Timber Collaborative. This interdisciplinary project will expand and accelerate the adoption of mass timber-based building construction technologies by performing fundamental and applied scientific research at the intersection of forestry, building design, and building construction. The collaborative will be led by Tom Chung and Kiel Moe. 24

Organizations FPInnovations Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada FPInnovations, active in Quebec City, Montreal, and Vancouver, Canada, is a nonprofit timber construction research institute covering topics like forestry management and construction products. Currently, FPInnovations has a team devoted to advanced timber building systems, finding efficient acoustic and structural solutions for projects of every scale. 7

Mass Timber Institute (MTI) Toronto The MTI, located within the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, is a partnership of academic institutions, government, and industry. The MTI positions Canada as a global leader in mass timber research and education and in the export of sustainable mass timber products. Its research and teaching interests include sustainability and society; building science and constructability; indigenous participation and reconciliation; manufacturing, design, and supply chains; trade and export diversification; and analytics and data synthesis. 8

Canadian Forest Service 9 Ottawa, Canada The Canadian Forest Service is an arm of the Canadian federal-government department Natural Resources Canada. Operating from a central office in Ottawa and six other research facilities throughout the country, the service fosters environmental leadership, sustainable forest management planning and policies, and ongoing scientific research. Canadian Wood Council Ottawa, Canada Much like its American counterpart, the Canadian Wood Council represents wood product manufacturers, develops design and technical standards, and works to ensure its resources are available to professional and academic communities. 10

Forest Products Association of Canada Ottawa, Canada The Forest Products Association of Canada represents the country’s paper, pulp, and wood industries nationally and internationally. It specializes in environmental leadership, forestry management practices, product innovation, workforce advocacy, and other economic and trade efforts. 11

Wood WORKS! Ottawa, Canada Wood WORKS! was created by the Canadian Wood Council to increase the use of wood construction for mid-rise and tall buildings in Canada. Wood WORKS! is a resource for education, training, and technical support for building tall with timber. 12

The Boston Mass Timber Accelerator Boston Led by the Boston Society for Architecture, alongside government agencies, this initiative aims to help Boston achieve its goal of being a carbon neutral city by 2050. By promoting mass timber constructions, the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator (BMTA) will help decrease carbon emissions from construction. BMTA selects construction projects utilizing mass timber and provides funding and technical assistance to the design teams. 13

Mass Timber Studio New York In an effort to help NYC achieve its carbon reduction target, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will provide $25,000 grants to selected teams with specific mass timber analysis or design projects. The grants will be awarded for teams in the early phases of project planning and design. The Studio initiative will be overseen by NYCEDC and the Mayor’s Office for Climate and Environmental Justice (MOCEJ) in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board. WoodWorks will provide technical assistance and the American Institute of Architects New York (AIA) and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB will provide advisory support. 14

Mass Timber Accelerator Atlanta Atlanta The Georgia Forestry Foundation and partners founded the Atlanta Mass Timber Accelerator as part of its Seedlings to Solutions campaign. The goal is to educate people about the cycle of sustainable forestry and the potential for mass timber as a circular economy in specifically in Georgia. But beyond education, the Accelerator will also award grants up to $25,000 to project teams. 15

American Wood Council (AWC) Leesburg, Virginia The AWC is the leading voice for America’s structural wood products industry. In addition to advocating for public policies that benefit the wood industry, the AWC promotes opportunities for wood products and mass timber in codes and regulations. It also provides American National Standards Institute–accredited design specifications along with education and training on proper wood design and construction. The AWC is partially funded by the Softwood Lumber Board. 16

American Forest & Paper Association 17 (AF&PA) Washington, D.C. AF&PA advances public policies and funds research to support the production of wood products in the U.S., particularly pulp, paper, and packaging. It also supports wood manufacturing across the globe and promotes sustainable growth of the U.S. forestry industry. It has collected data on the resilience of mass timber to promote acceptance of wood building systems. U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Washington, D.C. As part of its mission to manage and protect national forests and grasslands, the USFS works with public and private agencies to build markets for sustainable wood products. One such product is CLT produced from dead and dying trees, the harvesting of which could help control the spread of forest fires. The Wood Innovations Program provides funding for projects utilizing CLT and other wood materials. 18

WoodWorks: Wood Products Council Washington, D.C. WoodWorks provides architecture, engineering, and construction professionals with free technical support related to the design and construction of commercial and multifamily wood buildings, including mass timber structures. WoodWorks also helps educate professionals about wood construction through events, publishes technical resources, and connects developers and project teams through the WoodWorks Innovation Network. WoodWorks is partially funded by the Softwood Lumber Board and the U.S. Forest Service. 19

Manufacturers Mercer Mass Timber Spokane, Washington; Penicton, Canada; Conway, Arkansas (CLT and glulam) Mercer purchased Structurlam in June, and its location in Conway, Arkansas, is a former Structurlam factory. 4

Nordic Structures Montreal, Canada (I-joists, CLT panels, glulam beams) Nordic Structures sustainably manufactures industrial-grade CLT panels, I-joists, and glulam beams. The company has expertise in engineered wood products and mass timber construction with vertical integration from forest to structure. Its resource comes from responsibly managed lands within the regional boreal forest. Vertical integration, from forest to structure, bolstered by Nordic’s experienced design and development team, ensures consistent quality and unparalleled level of service. 13

Structure Fusion Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Quebec, Canada (Glulam, hybrid timber beams, fabrication) Structure Fusion is a Canadian company that specializes in wood construction.Structure Fusion is the coming together of Canam Group and Massif Technologies. The Canam Group is a multinational that designs and manufactures products and solutions for the construction industry, while Massif Technologies is an engineering firm specialized in timber structures. 14

Element5 St. Thomas, Ontario, and Ripon, Quebec (CLT, glulam, NLT, CLIPs, Boxx panels) Element5 manufactures CLT and glulam in Ontario and is Ontario’s only CLT and glulam manufacturer. The company produces the widest-format panels of any CLT plant in North America. It also manufactures several value-added, CLT-based components including hollow-core floor and roof panels and Cross-Laminated Insulated Panels (CLIPs), which offer a prefabricated, high-performance building envelope that can be quickly assembled for rapid building enclosure. The company Element5 is a dedicated team of designers, 15

Mass Timber 2023

craftspeople and assembly experts. We serve a community of forward-thinking architects, owners, developers, and general contractors to help effect change by providing timber construction cost consulting, design consulting, engineering, fabrication and assembly services. We strive to make a positive contribution to communities, the environment, and future generations. Timber Systems Lapeer, Michigan (Glulam, sawn timber) Timber Systems installs, fabricates, and designs mass timber structural components. With a wide array of timber products, its product catalog includes glulam and solid sawn timber, decking, bridges, and shelters. Whether you simply need some suggestions on an upcoming project, or you need three-dimensional CAD design, detailed engineering analysis, timber procurement, and installation, our Timber Systems’ services team is here to meet your needs. 16

Bensonwood Walpole, New Hampshire (CLT, NLT, glulam, fabrication) Bensonwood collaborates with architects and engineers to build small and large projects in mass timber and CLT from suppliers like Nordic Structures. A special division uses off-site manufacturing to build timber frames with CNC milling machines that are assembled by hand. The company also offers Introducing OpenHome, a design system from sustainable architecture pioneers Lake|Flato Architects, KieranTimberlake, and Bensonwood. Sustainably built and designed to exceed all current expectations for home health, comfort, and style, every OpenHome design can be built to Passive House certification standards - reflecting our shared belief that meeting the needs of today's generation should never come at the expense of tomorrow's. Once the design is finalized, your home's components are fabricated in our highly efficient, state-of-the-art facilities. 17

Texas CLT Magnolia, Arkansas (CLT mats) Texas CLT is an investor group that reopened the defunct Arkansas Laminating mill in Magnolia, Arkansas, where it produces CLT mats made from Southern pine and Douglas fir. Texas CLT also provides Custom Laminated Timbers throughout the United States. 18

Sauter Timber Rockwood, Tennessee Established in 2002, Sauter Timber is the first wood component joinery service to set up shop in North America. The organization expanded its offerings in 2010 to include CNC services for mass timber products like CLT and glulam, as well as other timber frame components, SIP panels, and hybrid home and log home components. In 2014, the company expanded its production facility by adding on a 17,000 square foot building made of a glulam frame and CLT panels. Since that time, we have been providing CNC services with our new Hundegger Robot Drive for mass timber products including CLT and glulam. 19

Planned Factories Timberlab Greenville, South Carolina Timberlab is opening its second glulam fabrication facility in an effort to provide a sustainable, low-carbon building material and accelerate the adoption of mass timber construction. The renovated 75,000-square-foot factory began operations in April this year and expects to be at full capacity by the second quarter of 2024. 3

22 Book Club

The Architect’s Newspaper

Mass Timber Must-Reads This curated list of new and forthcoming books offer scholarship on timber for architects and designers, as well as meditations, histories, and fictions that engage forest environments today.

Innovations in Mass Timber Boyce Thompson Schiffer Forthcoming

Sustainable Architecture & Design 2023/2024 Edited by Andrea Herold and Tina Kammer avedition Forthcoming

Fire Weather John Vaillant Penguin Random House June 6, 2023

Civic buildings often conjure images of linoleum floors and suspended ceilings, but why should we be subjected to such low-quality environments? Boyce Thompson’s new book argues for the expanded imagination for timber applications in public spaces, civic architecture, and generally “non-residential” buildings, as the ecological benefits can carry much more weight at larger scales.

This collection of architectural projects, proposals and collaborations is set to define what’s next in sustainable architecture, at a time when that term is in dire need of redefinition. Presenting 40 international projects across six curated categories, the editors look with an eye attuned to diverse building cultures. The selected works are grounded in the here and now and prioritize building sector innovation and novelty in design processes and forms.

John Vaillant brings readers face to face with wildfire. Telling the intertwined stories of oil and gas development and climate change, Fire Weather is a primer for the new era we find ourselves living in.

The Forest: A Fable of America in the 1830s Alexander Nemerov Princeton University Press March 7, 2023

Climatic Architecture: Philippe Rahm architectes Philippe Rahm Actar December 2023

Tall Timber: Mass Timber for High-Rise Buildings Anthony Wood, Daniel Safarik, Will Miranda, Jake Elbrecht CTBUH 2023

Part fact and part fiction, this work of historical imagination and analysis brings the daily lives of early Americans to light. Nemerov imagines how well-known characters from Edgar Allan Poe to Nat Turner engaged with, and drew life from, Americas forests.

Climate and environmental specificity used to be the dominant forces that gave form to architecture and cities. Looking back to references like Alberti and Palladio, Philippe Rahm eloquently makes the case for a 21st century “climactic architecture” that respects and responds to these timeless factors, embracing them rather than resisting.

This book compiles research and scholarship supported by the USDA Forest Service and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, two leaders in mass timber innovation at scale. As timber keeps surpassing expectations for seismic resilience, height and strength, the potential for high-rise timber structures to become less of a dream and more of a reality are explored in this new book from the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

The Power of Trees: How Ancient Forests Can Save Us if We Let Them By Peter Wohlleben, Translated by Jane Billinghurst Greystone Books 2023

Accumulation: The Art, Architecture, and Media of Climate Change Edited by Nick Axel, Daniel A. Barber, Nikolaus Hirsch, and Anton Vidokle e-flux architecture 2022

Blank: Speculations on CLT Edited by Jennifer Bonner and Hanif Kara Applied Research + Design Fall 2021

Trees are the parts creating the sum of a forest, and their interconnect systems and social networks are necessary for humans to thrive. In this book, Peter Wohlleben defends forests through careful analysis and critique of contemporary forest management. He lays out a map of how we can better plant trees and cultivate old growth forests, today and tomorrow.

Weather can be experienced, but how can we truly understand climate—something larger than any city or state, and interconnected beyond borders? This collection of essays by leading architects and spatial thinkers reveals how media has evolved to make these invisible events visible.

This beautiful book probes the design potentials inherent in mass timber through an examination of the building-block unit of a CLT blank, which varies in size per manufacturer. Contributors include Erika Naginski, Courtney Coffman, Nader Tehrani, Yasmin Vobis, Sam Jacob, Lauren Halsey, and Sean Canty, among others.

The Architect’s Newspaper


25 Excerpt

Mass Timber 2023


Designing the Forest and Other Mass Timber Futures This excerpt was originally published in Mattaforma cofounder Lindsey Wikstrom’s book, Designing the Forest and Other Mass Timber Futures, published by Routledge in 2023. The passage below is excerpted specifically from the concluding chapter, “Underpinning,” which examines the invaluable role that storytelling plays in our conceptions of earth, ecology and systems thinking. In Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest (1976), earth has become a concrete wasteland. A military-industrial colony has been established on a nearby planet called Athshe, to take advantage of its untrammeled forest archipelago. To clear cut the forest, the people from earth, the Terrans, enslave local residents, the Athsheans. In the book, relationships with the forest differ from character to character. There is a Terran ecologist who tries to protect living systems, including people, but has no authority; Terran military personnel adamant about making as much money as possible from extraction, enforcing obedience through persecution; Athshean religious leaders living deep within the forest, maintaining their historic customs far from the colony; and enslaved Athsheans who yearn for the forest as they endure ridicule and violence. The Athsheans eventually wage war against their captors, transforming the planet's future by convincing the colonists to evacuate, saving the forest, but in the process fundamentally altering their own civilization by introducing the concept of war into their language. Stories like these have played a pivotal role in shaping popular opinion about the forest, earth, and its resources. Le Guin was famous for creating stories that reflected the world as it is and as it could be. Even in fictional worlds, narratives that optimize for universal definitions can be less productive

than giving space for pluralistic realities. As the built environment is reshaped dramatically to adapt with a warming world and to reduce emissions, what kinds of stories about trans-scalar and biodiverse mass timber are possible? From whose perspective could these stories be told? From the edge of the woods, or from a satellite? For what purpose, or for whose enjoyment and survival, can mass timber environments be shaped? "Nature" is one of the most complex words in the English language. Because living creatures depend on each other for survival, there are many ways to interpret this exchange and to tell this story. For mass timber, future relationships among humans and with forests have the potential to be more reciprocal. Imagining what this looks like is a crucial endeavor because it involves stepping outside of past imaginaries and projecting new ones. Not only are new narratives, artifacts, and performances of reciprocity important, but the way they are imagined is just as critical. When Ernst Haeckel introduced the image of earth as an ecology, a place where living things find a home together, the idea helped people understand organisms, and themselves, as both agents and benefactors. Once organisms were imagined as a collective, a bigger entity, they had more power, more presence, and became more effective protagonists, like “the Amazon Rainforest,” “the


Black Forest,” or “the Redwood Forest,” to name a few. Ecology is a story of organisms and relationships, and so is mass timber; it is more than just discrete objects or mechanically circulated matter. Earth is full of overlapping and nesting boundaries of forests and people, trees, and buildings, moving in many directions all at once. This movement and richness should be more collectively narrated and its story more perceivable in built environments. The biodiversity of the region should be embedded in the forms, walls, and ceilings of the city.

inside a well-designed earth. If only people could sync up what they have with what they need, it would be possible to tune the world to the right frequency of trade, to calculate the correct cyclical amounts of consumption, extraction, and waste. He wanted to:

Choreographing Materials from Above

Cutting across disciplines and sectors and scales, Fuller considered in detail how a global society might collaborate to prevent total depletion. In his book Operating Manual, Fuller admitted that realizing plans at this planetary scale requires a great deal of wealth. The vision of equal distribution of resources ultimately depended on an accumulation of wealth and a top-down vision, which also implied enforcement and resource policing by a central authority, aspects that had not fully been addressed in his work. Exploring this inequality in more detail, Garrett Hardin, an ecologist and contemporary of Fuller, arrived at the conclusion that happiness in a world shaped by colonialism necessitates extraction. In The Tragedy of the Commons (1968), he described the earth as a place unable to engineer its way out of an endless cycle of overconsumption. He referenced arguments from the eighteenth century, including Thomas Malthus' Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), which pointed towards the futility of unlimited growth on a

When the first astronauts left the planet and space travel opened the doors to a new future, there was a renewed sense of our shared global humanity. "The Blue Marble," a photograph captured in 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17 looking back at the earth from a distance of 18,000 miles, inspired new narratives about the fragility of life on earth. The planet was visible as a singular finite space, like a ship, and humans were its crew flying through space. Buckminster Fuller first invoked the concept of "Spaceship Earth" in the 1950s, using the metaphor to imagine what kind of engineering could solve the problem of earth's unequal distribution of resources. Implied in this imaginary was an earth machine that needed fuel and regular maintenance, with inputs and outputs that could be measured. He expanded on the idea in his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1969), providing an in-depth look at what life could be like

Facing page: Forests are contiguous across property boundaries, while ownership and forest management plans are restricted by invisible lines of capital.

Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.

Below, left: Forests are like straws, sequestering carbon over time by sucking it out of the atmosphere and depositing it in the soil.

Below: Growing cycles in years of mixed conifer (46), ponderosa pine (80), and quaking aspen (20) so as not to exhaust supply.



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Above: Mass timber material story in Plate Carree projection. Take a photo with your phone to view as panorama.

Facing page: Tracking material assemblies as they age allows fo building knowledge transfer before it’s lost.

finite planet. “We want the maximum good per person; but what is good?” Hardin asked. “To one person it is wilderness, to another it is ski lodges for thousands.” (Even his use of wilderness is emblematic of this concept: to one person it is a social commons, to another a fenced aesthetic landscape.) Hardin saw that the pursuit of individual interpretations of good or happiness on a planet with limited resources will inevitably obstruct the health of others. The tragedy is that when people act autonomously, they deplete out of fear that others will do the same. And to avoid this fear, people pursue the freedom to deplete indefinitely. Imagining Non-Extractive Design Languages The chain of events that engender mass timber are design projects in and of themselves. This is often called the supply chain, and seen as if it were purely economic. But every supply chain combines social and political spaces that have the potential to be sculpted to resist forms of extraction. Imagining how materials are transformed by people across territories and timescales expands the definition of authorship and ownership. The end result of a supply chain may be the geometric form of architecture, but embedded in that form will be its story of creation. Therefore, architecture can be a monument to non-extractive ideologies. All mass timber buildings have successfully avoided greenhouse gas emissions by replacing materials that cannot be renewed. If the wood was sourced from a forest where trees are replanted and harvested in a particular way that is socially resilient and regionally biodiverse, the building becomes a non-extractive monument. Designing non-extractive ways of working is important, because ideas are derivative of processes. Sociologist Ruha Benjamin argues that “Imagination is a contested field of action,

not an ephemeral afterthought that we have the luxury to dismiss or romanticize; but a resource, a battleground, an input and output of technology and social order. In fact, we could acknowledge that most people are forced to live inside someone else’s imagination. And one of the things we have to come to grips with is how the nightmares that many people are forced to endure are the underside of an elite fantasy about efficiency, profit, and social control.” How will the supply chain for mass timber be shaped into a reparative and resilient infrastructure? What kind of experience and work is implied in that kind of vision? It is critical to imagine ways that human and nonhuman communities will negotiate in the future. We have to imagine how forests and cities should be interpreted. What kind of consumption habits will humans sacrifice in each environment? How will the organization of commons be normalized? These forms of interaction and social contracts derive meaning from their underpinnings, their philosophy. Political theorist Jane Bennett offers a philosophical view that human and nonhuman agency in a warming world is especially important: “I find myself living in a world populated by materially diverse, lively bodies. In this materialism, things—what is special about them given their sensuous specificity, their particular history— matter a lot. But so do the eccentric assemblages that they form. Earthly bodies, of various but always finite durations, affect and are affected by one another. And they form noisy systems or temporary working assemblages which are, as much as any individuated thing, loci of affection and allure.”

Bennett clarifies that imagining entities as separate or autonomous from each other risks a loss of information about the world. Her theory that all earthly bodies affect one another invites accountability and the possibility for care and repair to create change —and validates that damage is also created. Your point of view, the body you're in, the language you have, matters. Context matters. When stories about forests and mass timber shape the way the future might be defined and enacted, the encoded language or implied philosophy has consequences. As the planet warms, resilience will be less about solving a finely tuned circular process, but more about cultivating, as Bennett proposes, “fractious models that allow for heterogeneity and even emergent novelty.” Plant-based built environments are a completely new way to imagine how biological, legal, cultural, aesthetic, physiological, neurological, philosophical, and psychological factors come together. With the absolute dynamism of possibility in its spe-ciation, biodiverse mass timber is an arena for imagining new photosynthetic ways of life. It invites visions of non-extractive, kin-centric ecologies that co-evolve inside and outside the city, and

spatial qualities that are difficult to anticipate in their contextual fecundity. Built environments suitable for continued life are made possible when the connections between life are strengthened, when plants and humans are drawn as relative, or as relatives. Forests are living, and therefore aware of the presence of humans. Trees perceive us through their senses, and represent themselves in ways that are read, misread, or go unheard, through aerosols, electrical pulses, color, pattern, texture, and more. For human and nonhuman life to thrive, a reciprocal recognition of representational processes is needed. This means that to design for forests, we first have to learn to speak their language. This way of thinking about anthropology and ethnography becomes more critical if cities made of trees or forests made of buildings are part of the future. When representation is shared across species, how might humans perceive themselves? Lindsey Wikstrom is a founding partner of Mattaforma. The original version of this chapter, “Underpinning,” appears in Designing the Forest and Other Mass Timber Futures, published by Routledge and released in 2023.

Lindsey Wikstrom Routledge $39.95

Mass Timber 2023


28 Case Study

The Architect’s Newspaper

Seismic Shift In Mexico City, El Jardín Anatole by Dellekamp + Schleich is earthquake proof without compromising on aesthetics.

Architects: Dellekamp + Schleich Civil engineer: Cimera, Héctor Anselmo, B+L Arq & Design, José Luis bonilla Resendiz, Mayra Susana Monroy Hernández, Vigalam Structural engineer: Óscar Trejo, Sergio López Landscape: Hugo Sanchez Paisaje & Carla Hernández Lighting: Lightchitects, Carlos Hano

Oak timber and steel. These two materials make up the impressive exoskeleton at El Jardín Anatole, a 10,100-square-foot mixeduse building in Mexico City by Dellekamp + Schleich (DAFdf), a Mexico City firm founded by Derek Dellekamp and Jachen Schleich. A case study in cross laminated timber (CLT) design and its potential for seismic areas, El Jardín Anatole is a materially honest building that sources ecologically friendly materials to create high-quality public space in a residential neighborhood. To date, El Jardín Anatole holds the title of the largest mass timber building in Mexico (not a small feat for a country of 126.2 million people). CLT is popular because its strengthto-weight ratio is comparable to concrete, but the material is five times lighter and has much lower carbon storage. (Scientists found that building hybrid CLT structures can yield an average of 26.5 percent reduction in global warming compared to concrete construction.) At El Jardín Anatole, Dellekamp + Schleich used concrete sparingly: Only its elevator cores and stairwells use the building material that energy codes are slowly phasing out. Aside from its ecological merits, CLT also performs extremely well in earthquake-prone places. A study this summer in California found that high-rise timber structures can survive 7.7 magnitude earthquakes and return back to stasis within minutes— without damage. This made CLT an obvious choice for El Jardín Anatole, built on a site that sees on average 74 earthquakes a year, thanks to how well it performs in tension. The oak timber project builds on DAFdf’s track record of seismic-resistant design that doesn’t compromise on aesthetics. In 2021, DAFdf completed Señor de Tula Sanctuary, an earthquake-resistant chapel fifty miles south of Mexico City in Jojutla, Mexico. “El Jardín Anatole arises from a residual void in Mexico City with potential for density, where the courtyard of a house with historical value was converted into a mixed-use building,” Dellekamp + Schleich said. “Due to the added value of the area, few properties have areas free of construction, so one of the premises of the design was to blur the limits between the public and private, creating a public space for connection with the city.” DJR



Mass Timber 2023





Facing page: The facade boldly expresses the timber material palette.

Clockwise from top left: Floor-to-ceiling glazing lets the landscape in; varying levels and structural forms amplify earthquake resis-

tance; a section of the entire building illustrates structural resilience; minimal interior finishes complement the calm of the timber framing.

Alzado 02



30 Case Study

The Architect’s Newspaper

ARO’s Timber Connection

Architecture Research Office’s Milgard Hall invites interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Washington Tacoma. Architect: Architecture Research Office Design builder: Andersen Construction Geotechnical/Environmental engineer: GeoEngineers Civil engineer: AHBL Structural engineer: KPFF MEP engineer: PAE Engineers Landscape design: PLACE Envelope design consulting: 4EA Sustainability/LEED: Lensa Consulting Lighting Lighting Workshop Lab consulting: Estime Group Acoustics: Tenor Engineering Group Environmental graphics: Studio Matthews

The New York-based firm Architecture Research Office (ARO), alongside Andersen Construction, completed the long-awaited Milgard Hall at the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) in November of last year. The 55,000-square-foot mass timber responds to the South Sound’s growing initiative to promote STEM programming in the region and serves UWT’s mission as a “urban-serving university.” Milgard Hall welcomes collaboration between community groups and the university, while also bridges the collaboration between the Milgard School of Business, the School of Engineering and Technology (SET), and the Global Innovation and Design (GID) Lab by housing a novel mix of interdisciplinary studies under one roof. Construction for the project began in July 2021 and Milgard Hall just welcomed its first cohort of students in January 2023. Sur-

tion with the more metallic envelope to the south wing that houses lab spaces. These are then visible from Tacoma’s Prairie Line Trail, putting the scholarship on display. Both intentional architectural choices merge to create a space that reflects UWT’s vision of becoming an incubator of interdisciplinary collaboration. An outdoor Science Court acts as a central organizing space. It encourages socialization between labs, classrooms and workshops, connecting students to specialized spaces like combustion labs, a fabrication shop, a High Impact Practice Space with flexible double-height spaces for classes and events. But the building’s interior is the star of the show, featuring mass timber that imbues a natural warmth throughout the building. The use of wood “was a central design priority” for ARO, according to the project description. It’s both an ode to the city’s historic connection to lumber trade and an active effort to create a sustainable contextual design. The mass timber structure’s inside features exposed glulam structures, which provide strength and stability for the building structure, an inspiration for engineering students. On the ground floor, a permanent installation resides in the building’s “connector,” an area where students from different disciplines converse and mix. The installation “Forests of the Pacific Northwest” showcases images of the region’s forestry and acknowledges the land’s history prior to the railroad and European colonization, acknowledging UWT resides in Puyallup land.



rounded by mostly older brick buildings and warehouses, Milgard Hall acts as a bridge between this historically industrial sector and downtown Tacoma’s modern urban fabric. Nevertheless, it blends in with the vernacular forms by paying homage to Tacoma’s legacy as the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad: its horizontality, exposed masonry, and oversized windows allow passersby to pick through the building's modern interior. It is UWT’s first architectural project in over a decade, signaling a renewed interest in campus design. Milgard Hall’s design-build team used brick coursing at the north and east facades of the building to match the building’s masonry neighbors, while the south and west wings are clad in metal panels. The more traditional brick wing houses classrooms and faculty offices, and creates an interesting juxtaposi-

ARO’s use of innovative timber techniques for construction alongside masonry designs that mimic UWT’s surroundings generate a contextual design that acknowledges the region’s past and embraces its future. The joining of practices and techniques has awarded Milgard Hall various recognitions including 2023 AIA Washington Council Civic Design Merit Award, the 2023 DBIA National Award of Merit, Educational Facility, and the 2023 City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Award, Sustainability. “Milgard Hall is going to be a catalyst for innovation and discovery here at the University of Washington Tacoma,” University president Ana Mari Cauce, said during the ribbon cutting ceremony, “a really powerful symbol for how our university can create and accelerate change for the public good.” María José Gutiérrez Chávez


Top: While the facade is brick and metal, the mass timber structure is hard at work within, sequestering carbon and creating beautiful architectural details. Above, left: The site pays homage to the surrounding warehouse district in both material and form. Above: Two distinct “wings” are defined by different facade envelope materials.

Facing page, clockwise from top left: Mass timber elements become visible within, warming corridors and defining the structural skeleton. The warm, unstained timber also contrasts nicely with metallic facade and window frames as well as overall minimal color palettes.


Mass Timber 2023





32 Case Study

A Forest of Columns

Steinberg Hart’s Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, realized with timber from WholeTrees Structures, sequesters over 350,000 pounds of CO2 . Architect: Steinberg Hart General contractor: Market&Johnson, Hoeft Builders Engineers: ERA. KPFF Truss fabricator: Building Products Engineer of record: Ericksen Roed

Wisconsin-based design and construction firm WholeTrees Structures is on a mission to nurture the relationship between the built environment and forests. To do so, the company repurposes waste trees—trees that are deemed too thin to be milled yet are still structurally sound—to create sustainable commercial timber products and technologies. When Malcolm Holtzman, partner at Steinberg Hart, reached out to WholeTrees in 2020 about the 24,000 square-foot Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (CMEC)—the construction firm’s largest project to date— CMEC became proof-of-concept for structural round timber (SRT) as a sophisticated, sustainable material at-scale. Completed earlier this year, the Wisconsin

museum’s primary structural support comprises responsibly sourced timber: around 230 logs, 120 joist and girder trusses, 30 15-foot columns and six 30-foot columns. “It's the first of its kind globally in using multispecies, single-origin, non-commodity timber, brought together in a modern code compliant application,” Amelia Baxter, cofounder and CEO of WholeTrees told AN. Three species, all from forests that practice long-term economic and environmental sustainability, make up CMEC. Douglas fir was donated by Port Blakely, a family-owned company in the Pacific Northwest. Ash that was infected with emerald ash borer was salvaged from a park in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and turned into the 15-foot columns. The museum’s sugar maple comes from Seven Islands Land Company in Maine. The exterior is clad in concrete with a barklike texture, generous windows and whimsical portals. Within, a loft-like space is supported by preserved trunks and entire trees whose gestural moments recall branches forming a canopy, and act as visual and the-

The Architect’s Newspaper


oretical armature for the museum’s playful hands-on learning. More than a marriage of form and function, the intact trees boast improved performance—namely through predictably safe checking, or cracking, of fibers for refined aging. But overall, WholeTrees’ collaboration with CMEC allowed the insitution to meet urgent sustainability goals. Due to the company’s careful partnership with foresters, WholeTrees’ products actually sequester carbon. To date, CMEC has sequestered over 350,000 pounds of carbon dioxide—in addition to implementing 300 solar panels and drawing off 16 geothermal wells. While the scale of the project brought new challenges for the company, namely how to

transport douglas fir with its many specifications and without impacting water quality, CMEC marks a new milestone for carbon-smart SRT. “The two-story building is so exciting for us because we feel like now that we’ve done two, we have the perfect precedent to do four,” continued Baxter. It’s an expansion that promises more affordable, and thus widespread, adoptions of sustainable forestry going forward. Kelly Pau

Above: The children's museum playfully applies timber throughout the exterior and interior.

Facing page, clockwise from top: Museum interiors showcase the creative use of WholeTrees's heavy timber columns to not only support the architecture of the museum, but double as play furniture for exhibitions. The trunks add an welcoming feel to the project while also meeting sustainability goals.


Mass Timber 2023







34 Case Study

The Architect’s Newspaper

Knowledge Transfer

In Washington, BuildingWork ties maritime elements and Indigenous traditions into a timber library. Architect: BuildingWork Client partner: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Interior design: BuildingWork Landscape architect: Karen Kiest Landscape Architecture Civil and structural engineer: KPFF Mechanical engineer: The Greenbusch Group Electrical engineer: TFWB Engineers Envelope consultant: RDH Building Science

In La Conner, Washington, a renovation of the local library was long overdue. The small, maritime town adjacent to the Swinomish Channel boasts a population of just 965 and neighbors the reservation of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. A history of colonialism and cultural differences have long separated the two communities abutting the local waterway. The La Conner Regional Library District tapped Seattle firm BuildingWork to design La Conner Swinomish Library, a new community asset that embraces the use of mass timber as means to be welcoming to both La Conner residents and the Swinomish. A stroll through the historic downtown reveals low-lying buildings situated on small sites, but no shortage of 19th century-American vernacular elements: bay windows, wood cladding, and detailed cornices. Given their historical significance, alterations made to buildings, new or old, are strictly governed: The town’s center is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. So, the design process for the new library began with research. BuildingWork drew on the history and buildings to inform the design for the new library. It became clear through the designers’ research that La Conner’s maritime past still holds strong cultural and material value. So, details like the use of clapboard wood siding and a 24-foot-long tugboat in the children’s library strengthen these connections. Outside, an 18-foot-tall cedar story pole also uplifts the indigenous histories of the Swinomish. Crafted by elder and master carver Kevin Paul and his son-in-law, the narratives carved into the trunk depict symbols from the Coast Salish culture. La Conner Swinomish Library’s street-facing elevation can be read as two distinct volumes: a full-height bay window with a rusty red metal frame defines a corner, while much of the one-story building is formed by the two connected structures clad in wood. One features white siding and the other blackened wood paneling. The bay window offers views into the building’s interior where walls are clad with cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. The CLT is made from douglas fir lumber sourced from Washington State. “The La Conner Swinomish Library may be one of the first publicly funded buildings to utilize CLT for the entire building structure, and this project demonstrates what this emerging construction technology can do,” said Matt Aalfs, principal architect and founder of BuildingWork. Aalfs also noted that using CLT cut construction time significantly compared to using standard wood frame construction. Other creative uses for wood in the project include using the scraps of the story pole for the circulation desk. Similarly, the bookshelves in the Meeting Room and a bench were fabricated by Stuart Welch, a local woodworker. KK




Mass Timber 2023




Facing page, above: The exterior boldly highlights the red bay window element. Facing page, left: Solar panels line the flat roof, contributing to the project’s energy efficiency and responsibility. Above, clockwise from left: Contemporary elements of metal, timber, and signature red accents bridge the old and new structures; interior reading rooms incorporate mass timber siding and structural supports while also bringing in the town’s unique maritime and Indiginous histories through design. Left: From the main street, the project retains its low horizontality and also showcases the custom story pole by local Swinomish residents Kevin Paul and his son.


36 Case Study

The Architect’s Newspaper

Hybrid Innovation

Miller Hull takes a novel approach to structural timber for new health sciences building. Architect of record: Miller Hull Partnership Collaborating architect: S/L/A/M Collaborative Design Builder: Lease Crutcher Lewis Landscape architect: GGN Civil and structural engineers: KPFF Accessibility consultants: Studio Pacifica Envelope: 4EA Signage: Mayer/Reed Acoustics: Tenor Engineering Group Vertical transporation: The Greenbusch Group Fire protection: Coffman Engineers Air modeling/quality: CPP

The Miller Hull Partnership’s brand-new Health Sciences and Education Building (HSEB) for the University of Washington (UW) utilizes sustainable strategies to deliver co-disciplinary research, classroom, and collaborative spaces for the next generation of healthcare professionals. Featuring an innovative composite structural system consisting of steel, concrete, and notably, mass timber, the HSEB is the first project to be completed under UW’s new campus masterplan. In an attempt to forgo the sterile interiors which typically define healthcare architecture, Miller Hull chose to include cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels in the HSEB’s ceiling assemblies, adding a natural texture to the interior of the building. Early on in the design process, the architects realized that a fully mass-timber structure was not feasible due to the necessity of long horizontal spans, which would require too many columns to enable open and flexible classrooms and collaboration spaces. The resulting hybrid system—developed in a collaborative effort between Lease Crutcher Lewis, KPFF, and University of Washington researchers—consists of CLT panels topped with a concrete slab and supported by 53-footspans of steel beam. Normally, long spans of steel require deep beams which shrink ceiling height. Through the addition of concrete, the

depth of the composite system was reduced, allowing for taller-interior spaces. The composite system was outside the parameters of Seattle’s building code as it relates to mass-timber construction, necessitating extensive testing to demonstrate its viability. John MacKay, senior associate at Miller Hull, explained that the design team “had to remain flexible because the CLT permit approval was uncertain; we designed a structural system that could accept either steel decking or the CLT hybrid system depending on the outcome.” Ultimately, the use of CLT saved over 200 tons of embodied carbon as opposed to a traditional metal deck system. Supported by a grant from the USDA, KPFF, Miller Hull, and Lease Crutcher Lewis conducted vibration tests of bare and concrete topped CLT panels at UW’s Large-Scale Structural Engineering Testing Laboratory (SETL). Despite the recent popularity of mass timber as a building material, relatively little is known about its vibration performance, which impacts overall structural integrity. By advancing the local building code, and research into timber’s vibration performance, Miller Hull’s HSEB serves as a blueprint for future structural applications of mass timber.

Trevor Schillaci

Right: While the facade doesn't obviously express timber, its hybrid structure is key to meeting sustainability goals. Below: Varied fenestration adds visual interest from the street.




Mass Timber 2023




Left: The facade massing appears to float over a slightly recessed, darker ground level entrance.

Top: Generous glazing lets in abundant light.

Above: Mass timber creates key elements like ceilings and stairways.



Massing model of the hybrid timber structure


Mass Timber Detail - HSEB


Detail of how mass timber, concrete and steel interact in section

38 Products

The Architect’s Newspaper

U.S. & Canadian Mass Timber The increasing supply and demand for mass timber products can help mitigate climate change by replacing energy-intensive building materials, such as steel and concrete, with carbon-sequestering, sustainable wood products. Logging small-diameter trees in overgrown forests to produce CLT, glulam, and other mass timber also has the potential to reduce the increasing size and intensity of bush fires, such as the lethal fire in Maui and the Canadian wildfires that choked the East Coast earlier this year. Rita Catinella Orrell

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42 Back Page Freeze Frame

Barkow Leibinger stages a truss-like installation of 2×4s to create an occupiable gallery space. Barkow Leibinger 2x4 Texas A-Frame Mebane Gallery, University of Texas at Austin Austin September 18 through October 30

The Architect’s Newspaper

Most Americans are intimately familiar with the lowly 2×4, which can be joined together to create the pitched roof of an A-Frame home. These have become symbols of standardization and efficiency, giving shape to millions of suburban homes though the members themselves are often only glimpsed in the unadorned corners of attics and garages. The A-Frame invention hails from the 1950s and the boom era of Levittowns and white flight. Can it be updated, rethought, and reimagined for today? This is the question that Barkow Leibin-

ger asked when designing a shape-shifting installation that was on view at Mebane Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin. The result broke the traditional form of the A-frame using triangulated layers of 2×4s which were attached and cantilevered to create occupiable space within the gallery. Complete with the familiar trappings of home, from a “porch” sheltering a bicycle to a table set for supper within, the architecture encourages us to think outside the box and break down familiar forms to instead find— and make—something unexpected. EC




Mass Timber 2023





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