USACE Federal Center South Building 1202 – Photo Source: Architect Magazine
As new timber products gain in use and application as a mainstream construction production, they will—like any other popular building material—require ongoing research to remain useful in the ever changing construction landscape. This is the reason for the reThink Wood initiative was founded, a body of research striving to bring timber to the forefront of the construction world.
Formed in 2011, the reThink Wood initiative is a collective of interests working to represent North America’s wood industry: Cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT), and glued laminated timber (glulam). The initiative strives to present a unified message of wood performance, sustainability, and cost.
Greater Texas Foundation – Photo Source: Architecture Magazine
reThink Wood offers a publicly accessible research library for anyone looking to be informed on the latest news and studies in the field of wood building products. More importantly, reThink Wood highlights where research is lacking in these given areas, thus encouraging more studies in those areas.
As previously mentioned, one of reThink Wood’s guiding principals is the advocacy and education of all things timber; such an example can be seen below in one of their educational videos on the benefits of wood construction.
Everyone with an interest in the latest advances of timber and wooden constructions should take advantage of the ever-updating research and resources that reThink Wood has to offer; we know we will be!
For the uninitiated, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is a sustainable modern building material that brings tremendous benefits to constructions and the surrounding environment. Such benefits include affordability, reduced construction time, a lowered environmental impact, durability, and heat insulation.
To be able to produce CLT panels for construction, a company must first become certified by the American Plywood Association and the American National Standards Institute. This is no small feat and a great achievement accomplished by D.R. Johnson Lumber.
CLT manufacturing brings tremendous potential not only for Oregon but for the country as a whole. CLT constructions are growing in such popularity that many experts believe we are entering a “Timber Age” of construction. More projects and structures are embracing the material, and D.R. Johnson is always providing CLT panels for two of them in Oregon alone; the Albina Yard Project in Portland and the Woodcock Education Center in Monmouth.
UBC’s Earth Sciences Building – Photo Source See-Change.net
Established in 1951 in Riddle, Oregon, D.R. Johnson is a family-owned wood product manufacturer now lead by sisters Valerie Johnson and Jodi Westbrooks. The company’s vast experience producing riddle laminators (structural glue laminated beams) has undoubtedly served them well as they transitioned into producing Cross-Laminated Timber panels. Their infrastructure, tools, and local timber bounty will undoubtedly serve them well in this exciting venture.
Making history is an exciting event in its own right and we can’t help but look towards D.R. Johnson’s future endeavors with Cross-Laminated Timber with excitement. We know we’ll be seeing more and more wooden constructs in the very near future.
Tham & Videgård Arkitekter’s Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm. Photo Source: /www.dezeen.com/
“New types of engineered timber that are considerably stronger and more stable than regular wood are allowing architects to build bigger and higher, with timber skyscrapers now a real prospect.”-www.dezeen.com
As we are about to enter a new year, we in the timber industry are asking,
Are we entering what architects are calling “The Timber Age”?
As more and more builders are seeking sustainable designs, some architects appear to moving away from conventional materials (i.e.steel, masonry, concrete) and embracing wood as the “architectural wonder material of the 21st century”.
And it’s no wonder. Builders and architects alike are recognizing timber for it unique aesthetics, sustainability, quality and speed of construction.
“This is the beginning of the timber age,” said UK architect Andrew Waugh in this recent article. Waugh’s firm is behind a housing development in London that will use more timber than any other project in the world.
In Portland OR, builders plan to build a 12-story tower the city’s famed Pearl District. In the Portland Tribune, Thomas Robinson of Lever Architecture says that this type of wood not only resists fires, it will have the ability to absorb the shock of a major earthquake.
These buildings are not limited to London and Portland. Plans for these tall timber buildings are also cropping up in Manhattan, Italy, Australia, British Columbia and many more locations all over the world.
The building material making these wooden tower structures possible is cross-laminated timber (CLT)– a large-scale, prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel.
Will cross laminated timber (CLT) take over steel and concrete as the preferred building material?
This video reviews the Tall Timber Report that Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP developed as it relates to the details of the hybrid building system, fire and durability.
Aside from the structural benefits of wood, there are other benefits to using this material in buildings. Exposure to natural materials has real and measurable health and wellbeing benefits for the building’s occupants. Corey Griffin, an Associate Professor at the Architecture School at Portland State University, says studies have shown that people are more productive and less stressed in buildings with access to natural materials.
In addition, research suggests that these modern wood structures may result in lower costs and a lower carbon footprint since production and processing of wood uses less energy than most other building materials.
This is a very exciting time for the timber industry as the technology, research and designs evolve. To learn more about this movement, we encourage you to take a look at some of these resources.