How Engineered Wood Products Are Changing the Way We Build

These innovative mass timber projects are changing the way we think about building with wood. 

 Mass Timber Projects That Demonstrate the Power of Engineered Wood

Wood has been the go-to building material since the dawn of humanity, however, the advancements in the wood products industry have made this “old” standby seem new again. The beneficial properties and pleasing aesthetics of engineered products are inspiring architects, engineers, and builders to reimagine the possibilities of wood. 

Through advancements in technology and design, engineered wood products are helping usher in a new era of office and residential buildings in urban settings. We could point to hundreds of building projects that demonstrate the power of building with engineered wood products. However, here are just a few case studies that highlight how engineered wood products like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glulam are being incorporated in modern building designs throughout North America. 

APA Case Study: Kelowna Office Building– 3935 Lakeshore Rd
Location: Kelowna, British Columbia

Kelowna-Office-Building- Source APA Wood

Kelowna-Office-Building- Source APA Wood

This 3-story, 14,000 square-foot office building is framed with glulam post and beam, with CLT making up the floor and roof systems. According to this case study published by the APA – The Engineered Wood Association, CLT provided an unprecedented level of structural integrity, design flexibility, and cost-competiveness with a high level of aesthetic value, thanks to the natural beauty of wood. Click here to learn more about this project.  

APA Case Study: Winfield Gate 
Location: Houston, Texas

Winfield Gate.Source APA-Wood

Winfield Gate.Source APA-Wood

This upscale development of 4,000- to 6,000-square foot, four-story luxury townhomes uses wood structural frames and demonstrate the load-carrying capacities of engineered wood glulam beams. “There’s no question that glulam help us achieve our design goals,” says Andy Suman, partner at Röwe & Wright, developer/builder. The glulam also helped meet the area’s high-wind load requirements. Other engineered wood products utilized in this project include open-web wood trusses, OSB subflooring, and walls fully sheathed in 1/2-inch plywood. Click here to download this case study.

APA Case Study: Brelsford WSU Visitor Center 
Location: Pullman, Washington 

APA Case Study-Brelsford WSU Visitor Center

APA Case Study-Brelsford WSU Visitor Center – Source APA

The Brelsford WSU Visitor Center is a functional showcase of several engineered wood products, inspiring and educating visitors on wood’s aesthetic and structural capabilities. Mountain pine beetle-killed wood was used extensively throughout the interior, too. Click here to download this case study. 

APA Case Study: Atlantic Station Project
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Atlantic Station- Photo Source APA Wood

Atlantic Station- Photo Source APA Wood

Engineered wood is spotlighted in this case study of an award-winning development built in Atlantic Station, an urban renewal project located in Atlanta. Wood’s design versatility and sustainability are highlighted in the construction of two of Atlantic Stations’ high-density residential projects on the site of the former Atlantic Steel Mill. Click here to download this case study. 

1430 Q 
Location: Sacramento, California

D & S Development made construction and engineering history by creating the first building in the U.S. that included six levels of livable space framed in wood over a 2 story concrete podium. At the time it was built, 1430 Q’s the tallest wood frame building at 85ft. tall and unlocked more potential for building with wood. State of the art fireproofing and engineering gives its tenants the highest standards of fire safety, as it now takes 2-hours for a fire to burn through one wall. 

Case Study: Origine 
Location: Quebec City, Quebec

Origine-ThinkWood

Origine- Photo Source: Think Wood

 
At 13-stories high, Origine is among the world’s tallest all-wood residential towers in eastern North America. This distinguished landmark was constructed using cross-laminated timber (CLT) and is part of an ever-expanding roster of mass timber multifamily projects across Canada.

As a company that serves the Wood Products Industry, It’s exciting to witness this new era of innovative timber-built projects. 

Click here to see more construction projects and even more innovative wood buildings that are changing how we live and work. To learn more, visit CLT Basics on www.apawood.org & Is the Construction Industry About to Enter a Timber Age? on our blog.

Three Cross-Laminated Timber Projects We Are Happy to See

In case you haven’t noticed, we talk a lot about Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). More and more architects and construction companies around the world are embracing CLT for its economic advantages, construction quality, durability, sustainability, and aesthetics. Some even refer to it as “Concrete of the 21st Century”.

“How can wood possibly replace steel and concrete in high-rise buildings? The answer is cross-laminated timber (CLT), a relatively new engineered wood product that is part of a broader category of products called “mass timber” that includes already popular products such as glulam beams. CLT panels can be made in dimensions up to 10 feet wide and 40 feet long and more than a foot thick.

The panels are composed of layers of individual pieces of lumber laminated together, with each layer arranged perpendicular to the next rather than longitudinally. An odd number of layers are bonded together by glue, dowels or nails. Once assembled, the panels form a box-like structure where the walls and floors provide both structural stability and lateral stiffness.” (Source: seattlebusinessmag.com).

It’s exciting to watch the innovative buildings and construction happening around the world right now using this engineered wood material. Proposals for new projects include a 500,000-sq-ft skyscraper in New Jersey, a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver. An 18-story CLT wood structure, a student residence at the University of British Columbia, is nearing completion (Source: woodworkingnetwork.com).

Here are a few projects that recently caught our eye:

McDonald’s New CLT Building in Chicago

McDonald’s new redesigned flagship store in Chicago is built predominantly with wood and cross-laminated timber (CLT) and features a number of sustainable elements. The LEED-certified building designed by Ross Barney Architects gives us a preview as to what all McDonalds stores will look like by 2020.

Watts Grove Under Construction in the U.K

Builders in the U.K. are tackling the affordable housing shortage by constructing Watts Grove, a project being built for Swan Housing, “one of the UK’s leading regeneration housing associations.” This exciting project, designed by Thistleton Waugh Artchitects features innovative design using Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). Click here to see more or watch the video below

The Portland Flatiron

The timber-framed, mixed-use Portland Flatiron building currently under construction in North Portland is another project that will be a real asset to that community. This cross-laminated timber mixed-use building in North Portland is going to have four floors of office space above first floor retail space and basement level parking.

What trends have you noticed in the Cross Laminated Timber Industry? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or on our LinkedIn Page!

A Look at Mass Timber Conference 2017

Photo Source: Mass Timber Conference

Photo Source: Mass Timber Conference

Last month one of the wood industry’s most important expos, Mass Timber Conference, took place in Portland, Oregon. The event provided attendees with 3 days worth of international experts and presentations on the advancement and possibilities of the mass timber industry, cross-laminated timber, and high rise wooden constructions the world over.

80 speakers, over 60 exhibits in an expo hall, receptions, and 4 educational tracks were some of the draws that awaited attendees this year. These attendees included: Architects, Engineers, City planners, Construction companies, Sawmills, Mass timber manufacturers, Mass timber equipment manufacturers, Designers, Fire officials, Mass timber equipment suppliers, Economic developers, Policy makers, State and federal agencies, and many more.

These are just a few of the many notable and captivating lectures that took place during this year’s Mass Timber Conference:

Steve Marshall, Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry, USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry presented Changing the Way America Builds, a look into the strategic investments and decisions made by the Forest Service towards education, research, and outreach regarding mass timber construction.

Andrew Waugh, Principal, Waugh Thistleton Architects spoke on The Future of Mass Timber Buildings. Waugh Thisleton Architects are building Dalston Lane, a contender for the world’s tallest CLT building and previously built Murray Grove; the World’s first all timber residential tower.

Robert A. Luoto, President and CEO, Cross & Crown Inc spoke on Modern Logging in a Mass Timber World, a panel discussion that explored the sustainability, standards, and regulations of modern logging practices, and how they relate to mass timber.

Adam Taylor, Associate Professor and the Forest Products Extension Specialist, University of Tennessee’s panel on Biological Durability Considerations in Mass Timber explored the biodeterioration of wood, as well as existing techniques to address the issue.

Tall Timber in Portland, Oregon: The Future of Tall Timber in the United States was presented by Thomas Robinson, Founder of LEVER Architecture, and discussed the progress of the Framework Tower project, the West Coast winner of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition.

Thomas Tannert, BC Leadership Chair in Tall Wood and Hybrid Structures Engineering, University of Northern British Columbia spoke to the Recent Developments, Research and Code Implementations Related to Cross-laminated Timber in Canada and gave an in depth look at several research projects and advancements in CLT.

It would be difficult task to faithfully address every one of the fascinating lectures, panels, and exhibitors at this year’s Mass Timber Conference, and our effort only scratched the surface of what this event had to offer. The best way to experience it is to take part, thus it’s never to late to start planning for Mass Timber Conference 2018.

Sources:

http://www.masstimberconference.com/

http://waughthistleton.com/

 

The world’s tallest CLT building will soon be overshadowed.

“Steel was the 1800s materials, concrete 1900s. Now we are in the 2000s and it is time for timber.” – Susanne Rudemstan, head of the Swedish Wood Building Council

“The Tree,” the aptly named 173-foot wooden Norwegian apartment block leads the way as timber buildings —or “plyscrapers” as they are affectionately called— grow in popularity the world over. It currently holds the title as the world’s tallest Timber Building,— but it may not hold it for much longer.

Come May 2017, the University of British Columbia will finish Brock Commons student residence, 17-story tall and the soon-to-be tallest wooden construction in the world.  Of course, who knows how long that title will hold? With such proposed constructions as the 80-story timber tower to be built on Chicago’s waterfront, the very next contender may be coming sooner than we think.

Tallwood-Design-Institute-Logo (1)

Just this month, Oregon State University announced the TallWood Design Institute, structured around the advancement of wood constructions and the research, education, and teaching towards the development of wooden buildings. Thomas Maness, dean of the College of Forestry, describes the institute: “Oregon’s forest products industry and sustainable design profession are recognized for their products and progressive leadership internationally. The TallWood Design Institute works to link these two together in order to grow and leverage the use of new wood products in sustainable building design.”  As institutes like the TallWood Design Institute grow in number along with initiatives like the Timber Innovation Act, we can expect a bright future for the “plyscraper.”

Sources:

Daily Mail

World’s tallest wood building completed at UBC

Woodworking Network

Construction Dive

2017 sees growing number of CLT-based classrooms

Photo Source Yakima Herald

Photo Source Yakima Herald

Adams Elementary School of Wapato, Washington will soon have its first Cross-Laminated Timber-based classrooms, thanks to a five-school-district initiative to use CLT in elementary school classrooms. Washington Department of Enterprise Services project manager Debra Delzell says “It’s a very up and coming product that is used in Europe and has been used there for over 20 years.”

She’s not wrong, CLT constructions are on the rise both in Europe and the United States. With such initiatives as the Timber Innovation Act, the United States may very well soon see more CLT constructions in the very near future. When considering the Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber – such as reduced carbon footprint, heat insulation, faster construction, lower costs – it comes as little surprise that the state pushed for its use.

Another school undergoing a Cross-Laminated Timber construction project is Jefferson Elementary of the Mount Vernon school district. The four-classroom building is part of an ongoing initiative to lower the number of students per classroom. Thanks to the quick construction time of CLT projects, these classrooms are expected to be sitting students in the 2017/2018 school years.

Affordable, environmentally friendly, and quick to produce; as more institutions embrace this innovative building material, we expect to see more CLT constructions in educational institutions like Adams Elementary in the very near future.

Sources:

GoSkagit

ForestBusinessNetwork

KimaTV

YakimaHerald

The Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

Puukuokka-Housing-Block

OOPEA’s Wooden Puukuokka Housing Block of Jyväskylä, Finland, Photo Source Archdaily

“CLT has opportunities for significant advantages over steel, concrete or masonry construction in terms of environmental credentials, speed, weight, and structure as finish” – Alex de Rijke, dRMM

We previously asked the question “Is the Construction Industry About to Enter a Timber Age?” As architects and designers make the switch to building with Cross-Laminated Timber (even going as far to refer to it as the “Concrete of the 21st Century”) it’s become clear that the Timber Age isn’t about to begin, it has already begun.

Designers are embracing this new material for projects throughout the world. Hawkins/Browns of London combined CLT and steel to produce “the Cube,” a 33-meter high apartment block in London they claim is “the tallest building to use structural cross-laminated timber in Europe.” Beyond that they’ve produced CLT recital halls and tree-houses as well as using Cross-Laminated Timber to modify office and educational space. Lever Architecture of Portland proposed and designed Framework, a prize-winning mixed-use building that, if constructed, will be among the largest wooden buildings in the United States. Further structures can be found in Chicago, Finland, and Canada to name a couple of ever-growing examples.

This mass-adoption of Cross-Laminated Timber comes as no surprise when you list out the benefits it provides.

What are the Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber?

Put simply, Cross-Laminated Timber is a prefabricated panel made up of kiln-dried wooden boards stacked in alternating directions (where the cross of the name comes from), then stuck together with structural adhesives. These panels are prepared with CNC equipment, allowing for precise specification and application in construction.

Most, if not all of CLT’s benefits stem from this design and preparation.

Simple, Quick Construction

Cross-Laminated Timber panels are lightweight and arrive on site with a structural system ready to be assembled. The process is both simple and swift, allowing for immediate and accurate construction which in turn saves time and money. CNC-prepared panels also allow for greater creative control when designing and building structures.

Durable

In Japan, a seven-story CLT building’s durability in an earthquake scenario was tested through fourteen shake-tests and came out with minimal damage. Airtight construction of each panel and precision fitting through CNC preparation leads to seismic resilience, as does its unique strength-to-weight ratio.

Fire-Resistant

Though it may sound strange to tout fire-resistance as a benefit of a wooden building material, it’s one of Cross-Laminated Timber’s greatest strengths. The lamination of CLT has an inherent fire-resistance to it, and the construction of the panels and structures allows little room for fire to breath and expand.

Additionally, the solid thermal mass of CLT prevents the conduction of heat from one side of the panel to the other, allowing extremely high temperatures to remain isolated to a side as the other remains at room temperature.

Sustainable

The nature of wood makes it the only building material that can be regrown and feasible in the long-term. Precision cutting of CLT minimizes on-site waste and its manufacturing requires less energy than producing steel or concrete. Cross-Laminated Timber’s light carbon footprint is one of its greatest strengths.

Acoustic Insulation

Solid wood paneling provides superior acoustic insulation, dampening both airborne and impact noises. Its lightweight nature also leads to quiet construction, making it ideal for urban development.

Thermal Insulation

In the same way that Cross-Laminated Timber’s airtight design creates auditory insulation it also creates thermal insulation. Tightly packed panels can trap 90% of the heat that would ordinarily escape from a home. CLT’s previously-mentioned high thermal mass means that temperatures are kept stable and comfortable.

Pleasing Aesthetic

There’s a warm, soothing visual quality to building with wood that separates it from the lifeless concrete slabs that typically fill a city. Cross-Laminated Timber also grants designers with the freedom to experiment with more organic and creative structures than previously allowed by old-fashioned building techniques.

See some of the possibilities for yourself.

Affordable

When comparing the manufacturing costs of certain steels and concrete, as well as the money saved on shorter construction time, CLT comes out as at a competitive price.

Sources:
Smartlam.com
Valueaddedwood.ca
Deezen.com
Archdaily.com
Naturally:Wood Youtube