Podium construction – alternately known as platform or pedestal construction – is a building typology characterized by a horizontal division between a lower ‘podium’ and an upper tower. The podium, which is typically made of concrete or steel, is crowned by multiple light wood-frame stories. Often, the lighter upper structure contains four to five stories of residential units, while the podium houses retail, commercial, or office spaces and above- or below-grade parking. An alternative configuration sports six to seven residential stories (including the podium) and subterranean parking. Some visible examples of this podium construction style include the amenity-rich Stella residences designed by DesignArc; an attractive yet cost-effective student housing project for the University of Washington by Mahlum Architects; and the warm, modern University House Arena District also designed by Mahlum Architects in Eugene, Oregon.
Tall Wood: The Latest Architecture and News
Across the globe, tall wood structures have begun transforming the world of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, ushering in an important shift to an architectural practice that has traditionally been dominated by steel and concrete. Typically defined as wood-constructed buildings over 14 stories or 50 meters high, the past six years have seen over 44 tall wood buildings built or underway around the world. Notable examples include Michael Green Architecture and DLR Group’s T3 and Team V Architectuur’s upcoming 73 meter residential tower HAUT.
At a time when engineers, designers, and builders must find solutions for a resource-constrained environment, new wood technology, materials, and science are accelerating efforts to enhance safety and structural performance.
International Building Code requires all building systems, regardless of materials used, to perform to the same level of health and safety standards. These codes have long recognized wood’s performance capabilities and allow its use in a wide range of low- to mid-rise residential and non-residential building types. Moreover, wood often surpasses steel and concrete in terms of strength, durability, fire safety, seismic performance, and sustainability – among other qualities.
Wood. The United States is the largest producer of the natural resource in the world. But yet we rarely see it in commercial, high-rise construction. So we asked a wood expert -- Rebecca Holt at Perkins+Will, an analyst for reThink Wood's recent Tall Wood Survey -- to tell us about its potential benefits.
AD: Why is wood a material architects should use in taller buildings?
There are lots of reasons to consider wood – first it has a lower environmental impact than other traditional choices like concrete and steel. Wood is the only major building material that is made the by sun and is completely renewable.