Modern timber construction is nothing short of breathtaking. The wooden arches and unique curves delight even the most creative architects. The scale and perception of a wooden building make it blend in with the decor while still remaining noticeable. The inspiration and the possibility of achieving this type of construction are now trending upward, but who has the knowledge and expertise for these projects? The province of Quebec does, a world leader in mass timber construction.
Cross Laminated Timber: The Latest Architecture and News
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).
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.
Open Platform (OP) and JAJA Architects, together with Rama Studio and Søren Jensen Engineers, have won the open competition for a new parking house in Aarhus. In line with Denmark’s vision of becoming climate neutral by 2050, the structure will be the country’s first wooden parking house.
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).
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.
3XN has released details of its plans for T3 Bayside, the first office building in Toronto’s emerging Bayside community, and the tallest timber office building in North America. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, the structure stands at 42 meters in height and serves as part of the 2,000-acre revitalization initiative to transform Toronto’s waterfront.
The scheme is designed to reflect and emphasize the emerging neighborhood in which it sits, intertwining principals of life, work, and play. A continuously-activated ground level is abundant with retail opportunities, bleeding into a central plaza, exhibition spaces, flexible office spaces, and coworking facilities.
C.F. Møller Architects have completed Sweden’s tallest timber building, which is now accepting its first tenants. Situated in Västerås, one hour from Stockholm, the building is constructed from solid timber in order to radically reduce CO2 emissions, positively affect the indoor climate, and enhance the interior quality of life.
The 8.5-story-high tower features an elevated ground floor and double-height top floor, with all walls, beams, balconies, lifts, and stairwells made from cross-laminated timber. The use of CNC-milled solid timber and glulam allows for an airtight, energy-efficient structure without the need for additional cladding.
The New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects has announced “Salvage Swings” by Somewhere Studio as the winner of the 2019 City of Dreams competition. The temporary art structure is now the subject of approvals and fundraising, with the goal of constructing the scheme on Roosevelt Island in the summer of 2019.
The pavilion, to be branded the “City of Dreams Pavilion,” utilizes scrap cross-laminated timber panels recovered from a construction project at the University of Arkansas, repurposing them in an “inviting summer pavilion” featuring 12 framed swing modules.
Australia’s largest engineered timber commercial building has opened in Brisbane, designed by Bates Smart. At 10 stories, and 45 meters in height, the “25 King” open plan office complex is the tallest timber structure in Australia, and “establishes new frontiers in the design of commercial buildings.
The scheme’s aesthetic is centered on the goal of “bringing a clear expression of its exposed timber structure to the building’s transparent envelope and promoting a warmer, more natural workplace environment of the future.”
The 'Long Lodge' proposal for residential cabins along the Appalachian Trail, recently named the Honor Award Winner of the 2018 Maine Mass Timber Design Competition, highlights simple yet creative ways to spotlight the possibilities and natural beauty of timber as a construction material. The winning four-person design team created a lodge that not only serves as a temporary living space but rather becomes a memorable spatial experience through the effects of the structural design choices.
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.
Waugh Thistleton Architects’ ten-story Dalston Works project stands proudly as the world’s largest Cross Laminated Timber building in Hackney, London, having been completed in 2017. The 121-unit development made entirely of CLT from external to core walls, the scheme weighs one-fifth of an equivalent concrete building.
In addition to tackling London’s need for dense, high-quality housing, the scheme offers a methodology for implementing timber technology with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, such as an 80% reduction in the number of deliveries during construction.
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.
As their entry in a competition for The Arbour, a new academic building for the campus of George Brown College on Toronto’s Lake Ontario waterfront, Montreal-based firm Provencher_Roy have revealed their design for an adaptable mass timber building that could grow and change in time.
Using a staggered truss structural system that divides the building into modular cells measuring 8.4 meters tall, 17.4 meters wide and 40 meters long, the firm explains that the stacked program elements can be reorganized as necessary, with classrooms and double-height auditorium spaces able to be converted to basketball courts or column-free open offices by adjusting the cross-laminated timber flooring, which can be adjusted without compromising the rest of the structure.
Continuing the ever-increasing growth of timber construction architecture in North America and around the world, Carbon12’s recent topping out has resulted in its newly achieved status as the tallest mass timber building in the United States. Situated in Portland and designed by PATH Architecture, the 8-storey condominium is an example of the cost-effectiveness and labor sensitivity of engineered wood products while helping regenerate Oregon’s local timber industry.
With a growing population and rapid development, much of recent focus has been on Portland’s city center, in an effort to preserve the existing natural landscape that surrounds the urban areas. Built of prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels and glu-lam beams around a steel core, Carbon12’s hybrid construction aids the city’s densification, given its off-site construction and quick assembly that help both reduce costs and respond to residential needs.
The International Mass Timber Conference is a leading conference and expo on the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other mass timber in global design and construction and is one of the largest gatherings of CLT and mass timber experts in the world. The 2016 event drew 519 industry thought leaders and executives from 11 countries, and 56 exhibitors and 48 international speakers. Interest is high and the conference is expected to be even bigger in 2017.
Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés, in partnership with Eiffage and Woodeum, have won the competition for a 57 meter timber tower in the Saint-Jean Belcier district of Bordeaux, France. A tower and two shorter buildings, the 17,000 square meter mixed-use project contains housing, offices, and retail space, and is part of a larger master plan intent on spurring development in the vicinity of the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean railway station. The project name “Hyperion” is a reference to the world’s tallest living tree (a Sequoia sempervirens in Northern California) and emphasizes the proposal’s vanguard use of timber materials.