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Is Mass Timber the Solution to California's Housing Crisis?

One writer argues that cost, versatility and visual appeal makes this new building material exactly what the state will need if planned regulatory changes go through.
March 14, 2018, 10am PDT | Katharine Jose
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Wood Construction
Oregon State University

In an essay for The Architect's Newspapereditor Antonio Pacheco proposes mass timber as one solution to California's housing crisis, citing the confluence of new legislation and capacity for domestic production of an increasingly popular building material. 

His argument: 

"California’s housing shortage is a watershed event several generations in the making that will require proportional measures if it is to be adequately addressed. Given current understanding of what the mass timber industry is capable of producing, a rising wave of zoning reform, angrowing funding sources for affordable housing construction, it might be time for municipalities and developers alike to take a look at this new building technology." 

Mass timber is an umbrella term for a number of new construction materials made of wood but manufactured for superior strength and fire resistanceIt's the first novel building material developed in quite some time, and the number of both completed and proposed buildings made with it are evidence of the degree to which it seems to appeal to architects. 

Pacheco, for one, believes in the aesthetic potential of mass timber in California, in addition to its more practical attributes. "Might this variable approach," he asks, "even do away with the dreaded 'stucco box?' Only time will tell."

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Published on Thursday, March 8, 2018 in The Architect's Newspaper
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