PROGRAM UPDATESSLB Education Leads Forest Tour With USC Students, Faculty WoodWorks Announces Winners of Its 2023 U.S. Wood Design Awards Structural Savings With Mass Timber at Houston Endowment Headquarters Revamped Resource Hub Collects Essential Wood Products Resources
SLB Education Leads Forest Tour With USC Students, Faculty
Through a partnership with the University of Southern California, SLB Education took a bus of architecture and engineering students and faculty on a one-day field trip to explore and learn about Mt. San Jacinto State Park, the first time the SLB has brought students to a forest. Participants were guided by a park ranger and learned about the forest ecology and wildlife in the park and its history of providing wood products for the early 1900s housing boom in Los Angeles. While exploring the park, students and faculty observed wood species such as limber pine, lodgepole pine, white fir, Jeffrey pine, and incense cedar. The park ranger also discussed how high-frequency, low-intensity prescribed burns help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
The tour helped the students to more readily draw connections between the forest and the softwood lumber used in construction, and it supplemented the educational coursework at USC that the SLB has supported. The tour is an example of Education’s focus on bringing wood material education to postsecondary students so that they have a deep understanding of wood design and will specify wood products as readily as steel and concrete.
WoodWorks Announces Winners of Its 2023 U.S. Wood Design Awards
As awareness of wood construction’s myriad benefits hits the mainstream, the winners of the 2023 U.S. Wood Design Awards offer real-world proof of the material’s potential in multifamily and nonresidential construction. The 22 projects recognized by WoodWorks offer a contemporary snapshot of the innovative applications for mass timber, light-frame wood construction, and hybrid construction methods.
“Investing in a more sustainable future deserves to be recognized. It’s an honor to celebrate design teams that inspire the broader AEC community by challenging the expectations of modern design and construction. This year’s winning projects represent the work of building designers from across the nation who are demonstrating the incredible potential of wood,” said WoodWorks President and CEO Jennifer Cover. “From 19 stories of CLT and glulam towering over the Milwaukee skyline to wooden reflectors enhancing acoustics in a Colorado theater, these projects underscore how wood enriches the physical landscape of our communities and the experience of those who inhabit them.”
Recipients were recognized at the 2023 International Mass Timber Conference in Portland, Oregon, last month. View the full gallery of winners here.
Structural Savings With Mass Timber at Houston Endowment Headquarters
A recent Think Wood project profile highlighted the Houston Endowment Headquarters, a sleek, contemporary building with biophilic elements designed by Kevin Daly Architecture with Productura. The building’s structural design features three-ply CLT decking supported by steel columns and beams—a first for Houston.
The profile is an example of Think Wood’s increasing emphasis on a responsive content strategy. The profile was published when interest in the project was at its peak as it was covered in other design publications and news outlets. But Think Wood’s article was the only one that discussed how CLT was selected because it was more affordable than a traditional concrete and steel structure, given the site’s soil conditions.
Think Wood’s project coverage helps bust the myth that mass timber is more expensive in every situation, showing that architects should consider all types of wood as a more affordable structural system for certain types of sites. By telling such stories, Think Wood is paving the way for more architects, engineers, and developers to consider adopting wood construction, bringing with it additional opportunity for the industry.
Revamped Resource Hub Collects Essential Wood Products Resources
The American Wood Council recently revamped its Resource Hub of standards, design tools, guidelines, and educational resources to make it more user friendly and efficient. This comprehensive library helps code officials and designers more easily review plans or design wood projects with resources that support safe, resilient, and carbon-conscious construction. The AWC also maintains a Code Adoption Map for state and municipal jurisdictions across the country, indicating the codes and editions that have been adopted in each state—including the adoption status of the tall mass timber provisions within the code. Keeping this library of resources up to date is critical as the design industry demands transparent information on sustainability data and other topics, and these resources showcase the AWC’s commitment to keeping the industry informed.
The SLB’s investors can also leverage the AWC’s library of resources in their own research and communications. For example, the AWC has developed an Economic Impact Map using 2020 data (the most recent available) to break down the financial impact of wood products by state and congressional district. Wood products manufacturers can use this data to highlight the value they bring to their local economy, from total employment and tax contributions to the dollar value of goods and products shipped. Sharing these resources widely helps tell a more effective story about the role wood products play both in our community and in the design of safe and resilient wood buildings.
Hines’ T3 Mass Timber Concept Going Global
The influence of T3 as a groundbreaking mass timber project is hard to overstate. At a Q&A panel at last month’s International Mass Timber Conference, Dan Whalen, Vice President of Design and Development for developer Harbor Bay Ventures, cited T3 as the inspiration for the company’s decision to use mass timber at INTRO, its 512,000-square-foot luxury multifamily project in Cleveland.
T3—short for Timber, Transit, Technology—began as a concept from developer Hines submitted as part of the Tall Wood Building Prize competition in 2015. The seven-story, 220,000-square-foot, mixed-use building in Minneapolis, designed by Michael Green Architecture and DLR Group, was the largest tall wood building at the time of its construction.
In an update on its site, Hines describes the concept’s environmental philosophy and its progress in bringing the concept across the United States and abroad. The developer has also begun profiling the women innovators that have helped make the T3 business line a success. Hines currently has 26 T3 projects completed, in design, or under construction; 14 are in the United States, including one on Chicago’s Goose Island, designed by DLR Group and Michael Green Architecture (shown above). “Timber is one of our planet’s most rapidly renewable resources,” the developer said. “It also stores carbon rather than emitting it. By leveraging timber for both structure and interior, our T3 buildings address bold carbon commitments and ESG goals.”
The enthusiasm and energy around wood building design was clear to see at this year’s International Mass Timber Conference, the rapid growth of which demonstrates how far the field has come since T3 led the way for ambitious timber projects around the globe. Through investments like the Mass Timber Design Competition, the SLB will continue to foster innovative, yet repeatable, mass timber building projects that take wood buildings—and the lumber producers behind them—to new levels of success.