Building Material of the Future: Wood

A proposed development in in the North Loop section of Minneapolis would be the first of its kind. According to the architect behind the design, the "T3" project, as its known, could be a harbinger of buildings to come.

2 minute read

March 3, 2015, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Peter Callaghan begins his coverage of the T3 project proposal by noting its singularity. According to Callaghan, "if the seven-story, 210,000 square foot office building is completed, it will not only be one of just a handful of tall buildings in the world made primarily of wood — it will be the first such building in the United States." 

The article goes into suprising detail in explaining the engineering and design components of the project. According to Callaghan, "the proposed design isn’t simply a concrete and steel building with lots of wood trim and accents. It is fundamentally different —  a building made of wood. And those who are expecting a 21st century version of the structures that remain dominant in the Warehouse District will be disappointed or surprised. Those massive, old-growth timbers used a 100 years ago (think the interior of Butler Square) aren’t much available anymore. Instead, the material to be used in T3 is modern, what architect Green calls 'new-technology wood' or Mass Timber construction." There are a lot more details to peruse in the article.

As for how the T3 project relates to a larger trend in the building industry, and its implications for zoning codes and planners everywhere, the article also discusses the politics of the project's lead architect, Michael Green of Vancouver. Green is somewhat of an evangelical for wood construction, presenting his case in a TED talk (below) and a manifesto of sorts, titled "The Case for Tall Wood Buildings" [pdf]. If you're looking for evidence that city's are ready to embrace wood for more and bigger kinds of buildings, Toronto recently approved changes to its building codes to allow construction of wood-framed buildings up to six stories high.

Hat tip to Jenn Stanley of Next City for the link to the MinnPost's coverage. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 in MinnPost

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