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Cross Laminated Timber: The Latest Architecture and News

UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is a Stage for AI-Generated Collective Poems

© Alin Constantin Photography
© Alin Constantin Photography

UK’s contribution to Expo 2020 Dubai is a wooden sculptural structure that celebrates cultural diversity and collaboration, highlighting Britain as a meeting place of cultures and ideas. Created by artist and designer Es Devlin, the Poem Pavilion uses advanced machine learning algorithms to transform the input of visitors into collective poems. The latter can be read in illuminating displays on the façade, transforming the pavilion into the exhibit itself.

© Alin Constantin Photography© Alin Constantin Photography© Alin Constantin Photography© Alin Constantin Photography+ 16

Alison Brooks Designs New Entrance Building for Cambridge College

UK-based practise Alison Brooks Architects has recently won the competition to design the new Entrance Building and Children’s Literature Resource Centre for Homerton, the biggest college in Cambridge. Described by the architects as a “lantern”, the proposal is a three-storey mass-timber framed pavilion which will welcome visitors to the grounds while also providing additional study and exhibition space. Through its morphology and copper-clad facades of the upper floors, the new building establishes a dialogue with its context and provides a flexible space that can accommodate the College’s future spatial needs.

© Filippo Bolognese Images© Filippo Bolognese Images© Filippo Bolognese Images© Filippo Bolognese Images+ 11

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

© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers
© 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.

Engineered Timber Helps Indigenous Architecture in North America to Emphasize Resilience

The rising popularity of mass timber products in Canada and the United States has led to a rediscovery of fundamentals among architects. Not least Indigenous architects, for whom engineered wood offers a pathway to recover and advance the building traditions of their ancestors. Because timber is both a natural, renewable resource and a source of forestry jobs, it aligns with Indigenous values of stewardship and community long obscured by the 20th century’s dominant construction practices.

Is It Time To Start Thinking About Wooden Industrial Buildings?

Industrial buildings are among the best examples of Louis Sullivan's famous phrase "form follows function." Generally, they are functional, efficient buildings, quick to build and unornamented. That is why, when we study the industrial heritage of different cities and countries, we are able to understand local materials, technologies, and traditional construction methods of the time. England's red brick factories come to mind, as well as the roof lanterns used to provide natural light to factories and other typical construction elements. Metallic and precast concrete structures are currently the most commonly used due to a combination of construction efficiency, cost, the possibility of expansive spans, and the unawareness of the benefits of other materials, such as wood. Often, these industrial warehouses are also characterized by being cold and impersonal, in addition to having a considerable carbon footprint. But Canada's experience in recent years is noteworthy, where there have been an increasing number of wooden buildings constructed for industrial programs.

Quebec, Canada: the Heart of Mass Timber Construction

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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.

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.

A worm’s eye view of NN_House 1 reveals the back and forth between 3D neural network design and the limits of timber construction. Courtesy of Casey RehmThe design of the Meteorite allowed for both a monolithic exterior and an intimate interior and room for secondary spaces for installation and storage. Courtesy of Kivi SotamaaGilles Retsin and Stephan Markus Albrecht’s design for Nuremberg Concert Hall expresses the lightness of timber using 30-foot overhead CLT modules visible from the exterior.. Image© Filippo BologneseThe Wander Wood Pavilion was fabricated and assembled over three days to demonstrate the wide range of forms and applications timber can have when applied to robotic fabrication methods. Courtesy of David Correa+ 5

Open Platform and JAJA Architects Win Competition to Design Denmark’s First Wooden Parking House

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.

Courtesy of JAJA Architects + Open PlatformCourtesy of JAJA Architects + Open PlatformCourtesy of JAJA Architects + Open PlatformCourtesy of JAJA Architects + Open Platform+ 20

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.

3XN Designs the Tallest Timber Office Building in North America

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.

© 3XN© 3XN© 3XN© 3XN+ 5

C.F. Møller Architects Completes Sweden's Tallest Timber Building

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.

© Nikolaj Jakobsen© Nikolaj Jakobsen© Nikolaj Jakobsen© C.F. Møller Architects+ 5

AIA New York Selects the City of Dreams Pavilion to be Built from Salvaged Timber

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.

© Somewhere StudioSalvage Swings Pavilion Design. Image © Somewhere StudioPhotograph of finished swing module prototype on University of Arkansas campus. Image © Somewhere Studio© Somewhere Studio+ 8

The Tallest Timber Tower in Australia Opens in Brisbane

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.”

© Tom Roe© Tom Roe© Tom Roe© Tom Roe+ 13

The Appalachian "Long Lodge" Optimizes Mass Timber Construction for Sustainable Design

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.

Courtesy of Yueqi LiCourtesy of Yueqi LiCourtesy of Yueqi LiCourtesy of Yueqi Li+ 8

World's Largest CLT Building Provides a Model for High Density Urban Housing

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.

© Waugh Thistleton Architects© Waugh Thistleton Architects© Waugh Thistleton Architects© Waugh Thistleton Architects+ 7

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

The Smile / Alison Brooks Architects. Image © Alison Brooks
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.