5 Mass Timber Projects In 2021

5 Mass Timber Projects In 2021

A recurring theme in construction and development of the past few years is to do with climate change. In particular, developers are looking for methods to decrease the amount of carbon emissions produced during the construction process. We have already taken a look at the effects of concrete on climate change and some eco friendly solutions that can reduce carbon production. One of those alternatives to concrete is that of mass timber. Around the world, a great number of buildings and structures have either been built using mass timber. Some of these projects have completely made us rethink how we approach commercial and residential construction going forward. For that reason, we thought it might be a good idea to take a closer look 5 mass timber projects from around the world that have been gaining attention in 2021.

Mass Timber (Cross-laminated timber)

What Is Mass Timber? 

Mass timber, which is an abbreviated name for “massive timber” otherwise know as engineered wood, is a carbon neutral and environmentally friendly construction material and alternative to concrete. Mass timber is an umbrella term for a number of different building materials including laminated veneer lumber (LVL), nail-laminated timber (NLT), glue-laminated or glulam beams, and dowel-laminated timber (DLT).

The most popular mass timber product is cross-laminated timber (CLT). First developed in the early 1990s in Austria, CLT has become a widely used construction material and has started to make it’s mark in the North American construction industry. It is manufactured by crisscrossing several layers of kiln-dried lumber boards, which are stacked and glued together using structural adhesives in alternating directions. This creates hardy, stable, and solid wood panels that can be used as construction materials. CLT panels are lightweight but extremely strong and flexible. Panels are also fire resistant and fair well with acoustics, seismic and thermal activity.

The reason cross-laminated timber and other mass timber materials is so sought after is due to its positive contributions to carbon emissions and environment. As it stands, just above 1/10th of all carbon emissions come from building materials and construction, with another 28% coming from building operations. CLT and mass timber in general reduces the need for concrete and steel, and is therefore a renewable and sustainable material. As all mass timber is made of wood, it can sequester carbon which helps combat the climate crisis we face. Many construction sites have also been able to reduce cost, waste, and completion time when mass timber is used.

There are some arguments and concerns that a growing popularity of mass timber could increase deforestation worldwide, and that the supply chain of lumber is actually a bad carbon contributor within itself. With that said, most experts believe that the overall benefits will outweigh the few negatives, provided there are checks and balances and that mass timber is used in conjunction with other eco friendly construction alternatives..

5 Mass Timber Projects From Around The World

Here are five mass timber projects from around the world which have been built, are currently being built, or have been planned in 2021.

The Naples Underground Central Station
Photo: Paolo Fassoli

The Naples Underground Central Station

Our first mass timber project is The Naples Underground Central Station which is currently under construction in the Centro Direzionale area of Naples, Italy. It is designed by Barcelona-based studio EMBT and built in a neighbourhood designed by famous architect Kenzo Tange as part of a major overhaul to the Nepalese city infrastructure.

The studio chose to build The Naples Underground Central Station using wood to create an organic contrast between the metro station and the urbanized neighborhood originally designed in the 1970s. The idea is that the metro station will reflect older parts of the city instead of the clean infrastructure of Kenzo Tange designs.

The signature shape of this 10,000 square meter project uses glue-laminated timber to form the structure. Wooden columns sit above a pre-existing concrete structure including existing underground lines that run underneath. Technically, it’s actually replacing a pre-existing building, but this was little more than just a cover for a flight of stairs down to the underground platforms. Fortunately, with wood being comparatively lighter than other building material, it actually fits really well with what was there before.

The project started in 2004 and has faced multiple delays since, the last delay being due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is no slated date for when The Naples Underground Central Station will be complete, but the project is ongoing.

Walmart Home Office Campus
Image/Rendering: Gensler

Walmart Home Office Campus

The new Walmart Home Office Campus is, as we speak, the largest mass timber campus project in the USA. Development is taking place on 350 acres, give or take, in Bentonville, Arkansas. The campus will comprise of more than 30 buildings, including office, service, parking, and amenity buildings.

The project will use over 1.7 million cubic feet of locally sourced wood for each of the structures on the campus, making it one of the largest mass timber projects in the USA and the world right now. The Walmart Home Office Campus will also feature a number of sustainable design strategies including energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, and over 12,000 cubic meters of lakes for storm water collection used for irrigation and rainwater recycling.

The hopes is that, once completed, the Walmart Home Office Campus will create zero waste, operate with 100% renewable energy, and use sustainable resources and products.

Architecture firm Gensler are fully in-charge of the design aspects of this project while Walter P Moore will take care of all the engineering, traffic, ITS, transportation, etc. As of writing this article, the project is expected to be complete by 2025.

Hotel Magdalena
Image/Rendering: Lake|Flato Architects

Hotel Magdalena

Hotel Magdalena is the first boutique hotel in North America to be built using mass timber. Completed at the end of 2020, this hotel contains 89 rooms, a 900 square foot sunken swimming pool, on site restaurant, exposed walkways and courtyards, and more. It’s based in the popular and busy city of Austin, Texas and also stands as the largest of the Bunkhouse Group of Hotels.

The hotel was originally designed by architect firm Lake|Flato, who wanted to build a hotel inspired by traditional Texas lake houses. They utilized mass timber for this project as it would reduce carbon emissions during construction as well as speeding up the construction time. In fact, thanks to the firm deciding on prefabricated mass timber, it turned out being extremely cost effective and time saving for the firm as this project was completed a full three months ahead of schedule.

Amar Lalvani, the CEO of Bunkhouse, believed that mass timber was crucial for the design aspect of this project. He also believed that “by exposing the wood structure to the hotel guests, the mass timber helps tell the story of how the hotel was built while paying homage to the premises.” He also believed that using wood was much more aesthetically pleasing”. He went on to say that “The exposed wood also provides a warmer, more textured material in the guest rooms and common outdoor porches.

Dalston Works
Photography: Daniel Shearing

Dalston Works

As of writing this article, Dalston Works in England currently stands as the largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) building in the world. This 121 unit residential building stands at 10 stories tall and dominates this area of Northern London. It take ups an area of 14,280 square meters and cost approximately £24 million by the time it was completed.

CLT was exclusively used throughout it’s construction to build the floors, walls, stairs, and shafts. Dalston Works was originally built to meet the areas growing need of high quality, high-density urban housing. The exterior of the residential building is surrounded with traditional brickwork detail in order to blend with the other buildings in this part of North London.

Waugh Thistleton Architects used CLT because of the positive environmental impacts and efficiency that mass timber brings to construction. Using this material as opposed to concrete and steel ultimately eliminated approximately 80% of on-site waste and cut a total of eight months off the construction time. Dalston Works also ended being much lighter than other traditional buildings of this size.

This project stands as a testament to just how big mass timber projects can get. Though Dalston Works was actually completed back in 2017, we decided to include it in this list as it shows what is capable when using mass timber building materials.

Bellevue and 22nd
Rendering: Perkins and Will

Bellevue and 22nd

Our final project is located in the Ambleside neighbourhood of West Vancouver, British Colombia. An eight storey, seven unit residential building, Bellevue and 22nd is a mass timber construction project designed by architecture firm Perkins and Will. The project plans to use a combination of prefabricated and eco-friendly building practises to meet it’s goal of net-zero energy and carbon-neutral design.

Bellevue and 22nd is comprised of both cross-laminated timber (CLT) and dowel-laminated timber (DLT). As their is only one unit per a floor, the project will not require demising walls. Instead, there will be a system of structural bearing walls around the buildings perimeter. This means that small spaces, such as bedrooms, studies, etc, will not require any columns which allows for a considerable amount of flexibility with the interior design and floor planning.

As this project is using prefabricated mass timber, it counts on the carbon capturing power of wood and the low carbon emissions of mass timber construction to meet it’s goal of being a carbon-neutral design. Likewise, precise, air tight mass timber comes with thermal benefits and a series of solar panels on the roof will generate electricity for the building, along with a high-efficiency HVAC system.

Bellevue and 22nd is slated for completion by 2024. The team designing this project anticipates a series for tests to measure the performance and eco-friendly power of mass timber, which they plan to share with the wider building industry.

Get In Touch Regarding Your Mass Timber Project

Do you have a mass timber project that you want to get off the ground? Our firm operates in North America, South America, and Europe. We offer advisory services and professional industry advice when it comes to new construction and development projects. If you have a commercial mass timber project that you want to get started on, then be sure to contact one of our offices today: https://knightsbridgecorp.ca/contacts/