Hotel Magdalena, the latest from Bunkhouse Group, a Texas-based hospitality company known for the highly Instagrammed El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, is an 89-room hotel that plays on Austin‘s music culture and love for lakeside living. Named after Mary Magdalene, the hotel is part of the group’s hotels that are named after Saints, neighboring the popular Hotel Saint Cecilia and Saint Cecilia Residences, which are currently under construction.
Mass Timber: The Latest Architecture and News
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 Atlassian Sydney Headquarters, the soon to be “world’s tallest hybrid timber building” is being built in Sydney, Australia. Designed by SHoP in partnership with BVN, the 40-story high tower will provide, once completed in 2025, a new and innovative space for technology giant Atlassian.
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).
In California, the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force and the Office of Planning and Research announced the winners of their first-ever competition designed to highlight a category of engineered wood products known as mass timber. As the need for forest, wildfire, climate, and housing solutions grows, California is moving to expand the use of these innovative wood products, which have the potential to sequester carbon, drive healthy forest management, and increase affordable housing in California.
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.
Last April, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the construction of new all-glass buildings. Part of a larger effort to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent, other initiatives included using clean energy to power city operations, mandatory organics recycling, and reducing single-use plastic and processed meat purchases. The announcement came on the heels of the city council passing the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping response to the Paris Climate Agreement that included required green roofs on new constructions and emissions reductions on existing buildings.
Hacker Architects have unveiled new images showcasing plans to build the largest mass timber office building in North America. Working in collaboration Quezada Architecture for Brookfield Properties, the project is designed to be part of a 28-acre Pier 70 waterfront development at a historic shipyard property in San Francisco. The mass timber building is designed as a gateway structure with views of downtown, the bay, and nearby hills.
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.
Bogdan Newman Caranci have designed a new mass timber office building in Toronto that will become one of Canada's tallest. Dubbed 77 Wade Avenue, the project is being developed by Next Property Group and will include 150,000 square feet across 8 floors. Following 3XN's T3 Bayside project that will rise to 42 meters in height, BNC's office will be among the tallest modern mass timber office and commercial buildings in the country. The design celebrates the use of mass-timber construction within the ever-evolving architecture of Canada.
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.
As architects face up to the need for ethical, sustainable design in the age of climate change awareness, timber architecture is making a comeback in a new, technologically impressive way. Largely overlooked in the age of Modernism, recent years have seen a plethora of advancements related to mass timber across the world. This year alone, Japan announced plans for a supertall wooden skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041, while the European continent has seen plans for the world’s largest timber building in the Netherlands, and the world’s tallest timber tower in Norway.
The potential for mass timber to become the dominant material of future sustainable cities has also gained traction in the United States throughout 2018. Evolving codes and the increasing availability of mass timber is inspiring firms, universities, and state legislators to research and invest in ambitious projects across the country.
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.”
Oregon has become the first state in the U.S. to allow timber buildings to rise higher than six stories without special consideration. The recent addendum to the state's building code is the result of Oregon’s statewide alternate method (SAM), a program that allows for alternate building techniques to be used after an advisory council has approved the “technical and scientific facts of the proposed alternate method.” The decision stands as a precedent for future construction across the United States.
MIT Mass Timber Design, a cross-disciplinary design workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have developed a building prototype that aims to tackle the world’s growing energy crisis, “one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.” Extensively using the wood-based building design and construction technology mass timber - a method growing in popularity within North America - the project utilizes the “efficiency, speed, precision and versatility” of prefabricated timber construction elements to realize a multi-functional, sustainable building. The longhouse typology, often one of the first permanent structures of a civilization, is a common across the world, but in adapting its construction to face modern-day issues, the team hopes to create a space that “builds upon this rich cultural icon.”
2018 MAINE MASS TIMBER DESIGN COMPETITION
This year’s Maine Mass Timber Design Competition is intended to generate design ideas and test implementation of an emerging technology that hold specific promise for the state economy.
Remote Mass Timber Wilderness Lodge - Open Ideas Competition
Maine Huts & Trails maintains a network of backcountry trails and remote wilderness lodges woven through the woods and mountains of western Maine that provide a unique opportunity to explore and discover this beautiful region. The goal of this year’s competition is to study and develop a design concepts for a new hut on a established backcountry site, as
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Could Modular Wood Stadium Construction Be a Game Changer?"
Imagine a sports stadium that could expand and contract with its fan base and team’s fortunes, one that could pick up and move to greener (and more lucrative) pastures.
Given team owners’ history of playing fans against each other, making stadiums more mobile isn’t likely to give pennant-wavers a sense of security, but the concept is an incredible breakthrough for building technology. Endlessly modular and made of ultralow-impact mass timber, this vision of low-carbon construction, conceived by engineered-wood manufacturer Rubner Holzbau and prefabricated stadium designer Bear Stadiums, could soon materialize at a soccer pitch near you.