As our cities continue to grow and expand rapidly, there has been an increasing demand for architects and craftsmen to build houses more cost-efficiently under tight deadlines. Modular architecture has been introduced as a concept which involves assembling multiple pre-fabricated modules on site to create a working unit. By joining similar elements together in various ways, modular architecture allows for more flexibilities in design and standardized repair.
Mass Timber Design: The Latest Architecture and News
A team of five firms have come together to design the first large-scale timber building in Western Australia. Lyons Architecture is working with Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency, STH and Aspect Studios on the new academic building at Murdoch University in Perth. Constructed from locally sourced timber, the four-story project will include offices, learning spaces, and informal gathering areas.
Sidewalk Labs have released their latest study, called Proto-Model X (PMX), investigating how tall timber buildings could work in cities. As a digital proof-of-concept for how to design and manufacture a tall timber building, the study follows the team’s announcement last June to design the world’s first all-timber high-rise neighborhood on Toronto’s eastern waterfront.
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.
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.
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.
Steel and concrete facades have dominated contemporary cityscapes for generations, but as pressures from climate change pose new challenges for design and construction industries, some firms are turning to mass timber as the construction material of the future. But could it be used for structures as complex as skyscrapers?
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.”