Tree Tech

I did my Senior Thesis in architecture in part on the new technology that is Cross Laminated Timber. Someday I’ll write a much better description with all my research, but here is the cliff notes version:

This technology takes thin pieces of wood, stacks them at alternating right angles and them presses them into thick blocks.  Then you use them as massive walls, floor and ceilings.  They are really flexible, can be CNC cut, and make crappy wood incredibly strong (crossing the grain reduces bending far past what previous version of the technology does).  And you can build remarkably high.  Adding the various ecological benefits of using wood makes a compelling new technology, that has been being pushed in Europe and Canada for 20 years now, with impressive results.  It burns longer than as Fire Code requires before losing structural capability. It preforms really well under earthquake tests, and is about as environmentally friendly as a building material is going to get.¹

Seriously, the hardest thing about presenting CLT in crits was explaining all this without taking FOREVER to present.

It was approved in December 2012 by the  International Code Council (ICC), and the new code with be publish late this year 2015 International Building Code (IBC).²  And to help get it mainstream, the US Government showed it’s support in March 2014, when Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack presented an initiative “for developers, institutions, organizations and design teams competing to demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction.”³  I can’t wait to see what the creatives decide to do with it!

1. + my own knowledge.



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