On the Potential of Mass Timber to Transform Skylines
"New structural systems come along rarely, and when they do, they usually wind up transforming cities," writes Justin Davidson.
The potential scale of such technological innovations is why planners should take notice of the advancements in wood construction. After millennia of two types of wood construction, architects have recently added a third technique: "sandwiching layers of wood and adhesive, yields cross-laminated timber (CLT), a kind of super-plywood that comes in immense slabs as long as a bowling lane and as thick as 12 inches."
"When steel replaced iron at the end of the 19th century, the path from the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago to the Empire State Building took less than 50 years. Today, mass timber (the umbrella term for CLT and glulam) could have a similarly radical impact, because it gives architects and builders a chance to think in fresh ways," writes Davidson.