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CLT: The Latest Architecture and News

Foster + Partners Unveils Design for The William, One of London’s Largest Timber Developments

Foster + Partners has revealed the design for a new mixed-use development in the northern end of the central London high street. The building is located on Queensway, opposite the Whitley, the famous department store, which is also being transformed by Foster + Partners as part of a larger redevelopment scheme. Named The William, after William Whiteley, the eponymous founder of the famous Whiteleys, the project includes six floors of office space, shops, and 32 new homes, 11 of which will be affordable.

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Hanif Kara: As Engineers We Are Still Judged by What We Finished, Not What We Wrote About

In the complex trade of architecture and construction, you are never alone. And behind every great building there is a strong team of professionals combining their expertise. 

Hanif Kara OBE is a structural engineer and one of the founders of AKT II, one of the top engineering firms in the world. Based in London, he has been closely collaborating with some of the world’s most innovative architects, including Grafton Architects, David Chipperfield, Norman Foster, BIG, Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick, and many more.

Notable projects include the Kingston University Town House by Grafton Architects, the Bloomberg HQ by Foster + Partners and the Peckham Library by Will Alsop, all recognized with the RIBA Stirling Prize, and the recently completed Twist Museum by BIG, LSE Marshall Building by Grafton Architects, and 404 One Park Drive by Herzog & de Meuron.

Icon Architects Designs North America's Tallest Timber Building in Toronto, Canada

Icon Architects unveiled the design of a 90 meters tall timber tower in Toronto, Canada, which would become, once completed, North America's tallest building made of wood. Named the "191-199 College Street," the project is aligned with the master plan led by Alison Brooks Architects, Adjaye Associates, Henning Larsen, and SLA to develop Toronto's Waterfront that seeks to turn the Canadian city into a hub of affordable housing, robust public spaces, and new business opportunities. The construction of the CLT tower will cut over 3,300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and accommodate around 400 affordable rental units.

Mass Timber Seizes its Moment: The LEVER Architecture Experience

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The family of products that encompass mass timber –including Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (Glulam), and Mass Plywood– is increasingly becoming a viable construction alternative for the AEC industry. Timber has been a structural material for thousands of years, but these engineered wood products have broadened the field of options and provided a solid basis for architectural designers to work with, expanding upon their range of materials and finishes.

Ross Barney Architects' CLT Design for McDonald's Expands the Possibilities of Timber Construction

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© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers

In an effort to reinvent an iconic American fast-food brand, McDonald’s U.S. has announced a new direction for the corporation, beginning with rethinking the restaurant’s current archetypal design both in its interior eating spaces and exterior urban landscape. A primary example of this commitment can be seen in the recently completed design for McDonald’s Global Flagship in Chicago by Ross Barney Architects.

The structure, which fills an entire city block in the heart of Chicago, was envisioned as a hallmark example of both the architect and the corporation's shared commitment to environmentally sustainable design. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an essential material for the project, replaced many of the commonly-used building materials such as steel, concrete, and plastics that have a larger environmental footprint.

ADEPT to Build One of Germany's Largest CLT Constructions

Danish design studio ADEPT has won a competition to design one of Germany’s largest fully-wooden construction buildings in the Wandsbek district of Hamburg, Germany. The building, which counts almost 34,000 sqm, is expected to open in 2026 and will house public administration facilities.

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Mass Timber: Shattering the Myth of Code Exceptions

Structural timber is in the midst of a renaissance; an ironic trend given that timber is arguably the most ancient of building materials. But new innovations in structural timber design have inspired a range of boundary-pushing plans for the age-old material, including everything from bridges to skyscrapers. Even more crucially, these designs are on the path to realization, acceding to building codes that many (mistakenly) view as restrictive to the point of impossibility.

The timber structures of today aren't just breaking records - they're doing it without breaking the rules. 

BIM and Digital Design: A Closer Look at How Mass Timber goes from Factory to Building Site

Le Corbusier's fascination with the automobile is evident in the architect's various photographic records of him posing proudly next to a car in front of his architectural work. According to the Franco-Swiss architect, in addition to enabling more efficient and economical construction, the industrialization of architecture could form the basis of improved aesthetic results in the same way the modern car chassis supports the creative and modern design of the automobile body. Yet, while vehicles have experienced impressive changes since the 1930s, it can be said that architecture has been slower to adopt the advances of other industries.

But that has been changing little by little. Driven by concerns around sustainability, the use of non-renewable fossil resources, and efficiency, coupled with accelerating demand to build new buildings and more accessible infrastructure, the construction industry has been incorporating numerous new technologies, including those adopted from other industries. In addition, renewable materials such as wood have been identified as an ideal construction material—especially when incorporating innovative mass timber products such as CLT and glulam, design methods and processes like BIM and DfMA, tools for visualization such as VDC, and tools for manufacturing such as CNC. We know, these are a lot of acronyms, but we will try to clarify them throughout this article.

BIM: Offsite Wood Construction at Your Fingertips With QWEB

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Quebec Wood Export Bureau is adding another tool to your arsenal: a free BIM plugin on Revit. With the help of its wood-producing members, the nonprofit group has stepped into the free software world to put a growing suite of structural wood system components at architects’ fingertips.

How to Bend Wood

From its starting to point as a tree to its product form as a beam or piece of furniture, wood used in architecture and interior design goes through several stages and processes. A renewable resource and popular traditional building material, wood is also often cited as a promising construction material of the future, one that is suitable for the new demands of sustainability. But unlike concrete, whose molds can create even the most complex curves, wooden architecture most commonly uses straight beams and panels. In this article, we will cover some techniques that allow for the creation of curved pieces of wood at different scales, some of which are handmade and others of which seek to make the process more efficient and intelligent at a larger scale.

The Upshot of Sidewalk Labs’ Canceled Toronto Project

In May, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs announced that it would cancel its high-profile Quayside project because of “unprecedented economic uncertainty.” The statement marked the end of a three-year initiative to create a living, urban “testbed for emerging technologies, materials, and processes.”

Reversing the traditional order of city planning, Sidewalk Labs imagined building a new urban district on Toronto’s waterfront from the internet up, with sensors and other data collection infrastructure embedded in the fabric of a large city block. The ambitious development—with an area of 2.65 million square feet, including 1.78 million square feet of residential space—was to be built entirely from mass timber; indeed, the extensive use of modular cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (glulam) was a chief selling point of the design (by Heatherwick Studio and Snøhetta, using a kit-of-parts developed by Michael Green Architecture).

Material of the Future: 4 Architects that Experiment with Cross Laminated Timber

This article was originally published on The Architect's Newspaper as "Architects apply the latest in fabrication, design, and visualization to age-old timber."

Every so often, the field of architecture is presented with what is hailed as the next “miracle building material.” Concrete enabled the expansion of the Roman Empire, steel densified cities to previously unthinkable heights, and plastic reconstituted the architectural interior and the building economy along with it.

But it would be reasonable to question why and how, in the 21st century, timber was accorded a miracle status on the tail-end of a timeline several millennia-long. Though its rough-hewn surface and the puzzle-like assembly it engenders might seem antithetical to the current global demand for exponential building development, it is timber’s durability, renewability, and capacity for sequestering carbon—rather than release it—that inspires the building industry to heavily invest in its future.

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Timber Trends: 7 To Watch for 2020

The history of timber construction stretches back as far as the Neolithic period, or potentially even earlier, when humans first began using wood to build shelters from the elements. The appearance of the first polished stone tools, such as knives and axes, then made wood handling more efficient and precise, increasing the thickness of wood sections and their resistance. Over the decades, the rustic appearance of these early constructions became increasingly orthogonal and clean, as a result of standardization, mass production, and the emergence of new styles and aesthetics.

Today we are experiencing another seminal moment within the evolution of timber. Nourished and strengthened by technological advances, new prefabrication systems, and a series of processes that increase its sustainability, safety, and efficiency, timber structures are popping up in the skylines of cities and in turn, is reconnecting our interior spaces with nature through the warmth, texture, and beauty of wood. Where will this path lead us? Below, we review 7 trends that suggest this progress is only set to continue, increasing both the capabilities and height of timber buildings in the years to come.

Architects Propose World's First Prefabricated Cross Laminated Timber Concert Hall for Nuremberg

Advancing into the 21st century as architects enables us to explore and deliver an increasing number of sustainable approaches to architecture and the building industry. Whilst previously, concrete and steel have been predominately used throughout the construction industry, architects are now beginning to realise the importance of new technologies, such as timber, and use them for efficient construction, sustainability and cost effective purposes.

In a recent international competition, architects Gilles Retsin and Stephan Markus Albrecht, were selected among 20 finalists for the extension of the Meistersingerhalle, located in Nuremberg, Germany. The architects collaborated with Bollinger-Grohmann engineers, Transsolar climate engineers and acoustic specialists such as Theatre Projects, to design what is to be the world’s first concert hall building constructed using cross laminated timber (CLT).

Is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) the Concrete of the Future?

Concrete, an essential building material, has for decades offered us the possibility of shaping our cities quickly and effectively, allowing them to rapidly expand into urban peripheries and reach heights previously unimagined by mankind. Today, new timber technologies are beginning to deliver similar opportunities – and even superior ones – through materials like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

To better understand the properties and benefits of CLT, we talked with Jorge Calderón, Industrial Designer and CRULAMM Manager. He discusses some of the promising opportunities that CLT could provide architecture in the future.

Cross Laminated Timber (CLT): What It Is and How To Use It

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The Smile / Alison Brooks Architects. Image © Alison Brooks

A few weeks ago we published an article on a recent sustainability crisis that often goes unnoticed. The construction industry has been consuming an exorbitant amount of sand, and it's gradually depleting. When used for manufacturing concrete, glass, and other materials, it is a matter that should concern us. Construction is one of the largest producers of solid waste in the world. For instance, Brazil represents about 50% to 70% of the total solid waste produced. But how can we change this situation if most of the materials we use are not renewable, and therefore, finite?

Popularized in Europe and gradually gaining attention in the rest of the world, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) stands out for its strength, appearance, versatility, and sustainability.