Tallest Wooden Building in America Gains Approval

Architect working on some designsConstruction for the highest wooden building in the U.S. will begin in the fall of 2017, as the project gained approval after passing structural and safety tests.

The 11-story Framework Building locates in Portland in the state of Oregon. It represents an emerging trend of building timber-framed towers in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry in the last few years.

The trend is similar to the introduction of building information modeling and 3D architectural visualization – a service provided by firms such as SPACIALISTS – among other design technologies.

Building Specs

The Framework Building project won the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize for $1.5 million from a contest, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, and the Softwood Lumber Board as sponsors.

It will comprise mixed-use spaces for ground-floor retail, office and 60 units of affordable housing space across 90,000 square meters of building space. It will be done by the end of 2018, following the completion of the 8-floor Carbon12 tower in Portland, the first wooden building in the city.

Companies that want to lease office space within five floors of the building should be certified B corporations, which are those that “meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability” among other characteristics.

Timber Tools

Timber-framed building designs began in Europe, although the architectural method is rapidly becoming more popular. Unlike standard dimensional lumber for home construction, the Framework Building project will use cross-laminated and glued laminated timber with floor panels measuring 50 feet long.

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The material has fire- and earthquake-resistant capabilities aside from an anti-quake building core, which will be useful since seismic activity often occurs in Portland.

Building specifications and designs continue to evolve as architects introduce new concepts. For AEC firms, do you think wooden high-rise buildings in the U.S. will become more common in the future?