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Mass Timber Design: The Latest Architecture and News

Mass Timber: Shattering the Myth of Code Exceptions

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

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.

Can Future Cities be Timber Cities? Google’s Sidewalk Labs Asks the Experts

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's Mass Timber Longhouse Shows a Technology-Driven Approach to Sustainable Design

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.”

Courtesy of MIT Mass Timber Design Courtesy of MIT Mass Timber Design Courtesy of MIT Mass Timber Design Courtesy of MIT Mass Timber Design + 14