The recent push for larger and taller wood structures may seem like an architectural fad—plenty of hype, but only a few dozen completed projects globally. Concrete and steel still rule the world of mid- and high-rise construction. Still, Building Teams around the world are starting to use more large-scale structural wood systems, including heavy timbers, engineered framing systems, and other modern wood products. The number of new buildings of this kind has been trending modestly upward, spurred by such benefits as sustainability, cost effectiveness, and reduced construction impact. Leading the way: podium-type concrete and light-framed hybrids in the U.S., and heavier “mass timber” structures elsewhere.
After reading this article, you should be able to:
+ Describe the primary approaches to large-scale structural wood construction, including hybrid light framing and engineered mass timber.
+ Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of structural wood systems, in particular their contribution to sustainable design and green building.
+ List current certifications, codes, and standards that affect the use of large-scale modern wood structures.
+ Compare wood systems to concrete and steel in terms of availability, suitability for building types, and performance for such factors as acoustics and fire safety.