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Mass Timber: The Latest Architecture and News

Diamond Schmitt Architects Reveals Design for the New Brunswick Museum in Canada

Diamond Schmitt Architects, together with Associate Architect EXP, has unveiled the design for the New Brunswick Museum (NBM). Envisioned as an extension of Canada’s oldest museum, the new wing will expand the museum’s spaces for research and exhibitions while maintaining a minimum carbon footprint. The intervention is located on the historic Saint John site, taking advantage of the unique location by opening up views towards both the urban center and the Harbor of Saint John.

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Landscape Architects Lead Bhutan’s Mindfulness City

“The Mindfulness City will be a sustainable city. To be mindful is to be aware — to perform best,” said Giulia Frittoli, partner and head of landscape at BIG. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked Buddhist country in the eastern Himalayas, nestled between China and India. It covers 14,000 square miles and has a population of nearly 800,000.

The Royal Office of Bhutan asked BIG, Arup, and Cistri to develop a plan for a new Mindfulness City in Gelephu in southern Bhutan, near the border with India. The city will span 386 square miles and include a new international airport, railway connections, hydroelectric dam, university, spiritual center, and public spaces.

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Is Mass Timber the Key Element in a Low Carbon Future?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Chinese temples have stood for centuries, battered by wind and earthquakes, without a crack or timber out of place. They employ an ancient technique called “bracket set construction” that requires no nails or metal parts to connect wooden structural elements. Scandinavian stave churches are nearly as durable. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of trees in Sweden and all over China.

So what is with the hype about innovation in “mass timber” construction over the past few years? As Boyce Thompson argues in his thoughtful new book, Innovations in Mass Timber: Sequestering Carbon with Style in Commercial Buildings (Schiffer Publishing), this will be the next big thing in “green” tech for architects feeling guilty about their costly titanium skins and outsized carbon footprints. The color photos show some impressive buildings in places where the wood industry has always been healthy, such as the Pacific Northwest and Scandinavia. The Japanese build log cabins with imported material that might as well be gold.

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BIG and A+ Architects Reveal Design for Mass Timber Transport Hub in France

Bjarke Ingels Group and A+ Architects have revealed the design for the 12,000-square-meter Marengo Multimodal Transport Hub in Toulouse, France. The project will expand the functionality of the city’s central station, Gare Matabiau, strengthening the area’s public transport networks by creating a hub for bus, railway, and metro, all connected under one roof. The design of the new hub takes cues from the city’s distinctive roofscape and the traditional use of the rose-colored “foraine” brick, employing a mass timber structure and low-carbon concrete to ensure a sustainable intervention adapted to its environment. The Hub is set to begin construction in 2026.

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SO–IL Designs a Teaching Museum of Art for Williams College in the United States

Brooklyn-based firm SO-IL has revealed the design for a new campus art museum at Williams College in Massachusetts, created to become a primary teaching resource for the institution renowned for its art history program. Since its inauguration in 1926, the Williams College Museum of Art has gathered an expansive collection of over 15,000 works. Through the design of SO-IL, the museum will be able to move into its first freestanding purpose-built home. In May 2024, the museum will present an exhibition on SO-IL’s design.

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Construction Challenges and Solutions in Mass Timber: The Case of the Dengo Store

Mass timber is an innovative construction solution that is gaining prominence worldwide due to its sustainability and technological benefits. In 2020, the opening of the first Dengo concept store, located in São Paulo, marked the debut of the brand's first interactive factory and the pioneering use of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) in a high-rise building in Brazil. Developed by architecture firm Matheus Farah and Manoel Maia, the project faced several challenges precisely because of its use of this new technology, which was just beginning to emerge in the construction sector.

The choice of CLT as the project's main building material reflects a commitment to sustainability and to reducing its environmental impact, as it helps mitigate carbon in the atmosphere. In addition, its use allows for cleaner, lighter, and faster construction compared to traditional building methods. However, it is important to keep in mind that mass timber construction requires special care in the handling, storage, and assembly of materials, in order to preserve their integrity and aesthetic details throughout the construction process. Using the right methods is therefore essential to guarantee a high-quality result, which include practices such as not leaving the wood exposed to weather or using wedges to prevent the wood from coming into contact with the ground.

Exploring Indigenous Wisdom: A Journey through Architecture Rooted in Tradition and Community

In a time marked by environmental challenges and a growing demand for authenticity and cultural diversity, architects are increasingly turning to indigenous knowledge systems not only as sources of inspiration, but as viable solutions to adapt and respond to local and global challenges. As traditional custodians of the land, indigenous communities posses a profound understanding of their ecosystems, locally-available materials, cultural norms and social constrains. This knowledge holds insights valuable for shaping contemporary architecture, helping it adapt to both the people and their environments.

Vernacular and indigenous practices are emerging as a foundation for architectural reimagining, informing spatial lays, the choice of materials and building techniques while also allowing for the integration of innovation and contemporary expression. This careful blend of tradition and modernity can have a significant impact in terms of sustainability, as architects who adopt the indigenous approach to harnessing available resources can not only create structures rooted in their context, but also minimize the ecological impact of the construction. Additionally, collaborating directly with indigenous communities leads to projects that prioritize community participation, cultural sensitivity and sustainable development.

Le Berlier, the 50-Meter-Tall Timber Tower Designed by Moreau Kusunoki, Opens in Paris, France

In Paris’ thirteenth arrondissement, the architecture office Moreau Kusunoki has completed Le Berlier, a 50-meter-tall timber tower housing residential units along with various other amenities. Situated at the intersection of multiple urban flows, networks, and scales, the project aims to find the middle ground between innovation, monumentality, and domesticity. The new residential center expresses its structural system through the grid of the façade, rendered in charred and pre-weathered wood.

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Should We Consider Timber in Social Housing Projects?

Housing is a fundamental aspect of architecture, providing shelter, which is essential for everyone. In urban environments, addressing the housing challenge is both urgent and complex. Social housing initiatives aim to provide a substantial portion of the population with access to this fundamental architectural concept: a home.

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Henning Larsen Wins Competition to Design Mass Timber Campus for University of the Faroe Islands

Henning Larsen Architects has just won the competition to design a new university campus building in Torshvan, Faroe Islands. The 8000m2 campus is primarily inspired by the Faroese settlements and indigenous lands, drawing on various ancient methodologies of building for extreme weather conditions. The new design “extends the comfortable outdoor season by 150 days each year,” transforming the campus into an ideal space for learning.

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What Is Mass Timber?

Wood is the concrete of the future. As timber construction becomes increasingly popular, you have probably heard this phrase. However, we are not talking about traditional construction techniques using timber, but rather about this well-known material combined with cutting-edge technology.

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Taking on California's First Mass Timber Building

Mass timber is emerging all across North America. Beyond the benefits of natural materials and visible structures, the capabilities of industrialized offsite construction are beginning to change the model of delivery for an increasing range of buildings. When a California owner-developer proposed the first mass timber building in the state, they chose the experience, scope, and qualifications carefully, and the entire mass timber package was delivered on a train from Quebec, Canada.