We spent last year creating a digital proof-of-concept for how to design and manufacture a tall timber building. This two-part blog series unpacks our key findings. Last June, we announced a plan to design the world’s first all-timber high-rise neighborhood, located on Toronto’s eastern waterfront. Of course, building with timber is not a new idea — people have been doing it since at least the Neolithic Age. Yet timber fell out of favor in the late-19th century when steel and concrete gave buildings the strength to soar to new heights. Today, timber is staging a comeback in the form of a new fire-resistant super wood known as “mass timber,” a building material made of wood pieces compressed together in a factory to create thick beams, columns, and panels. This resurgence is driven in part by environmental advocates, some of whom have highlighted mass timber’s potential to help fight global climate change. Developers are also interested in how mass timber building parts lend themselves to efficient factory production, which can save time (and therefore cost) over existing on-site construction methods. These factors have spurred development projects that seek to incorporate mass timber into high-rise buildings. In fact, two 18-story mass […]


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