America’s First Wooden Skyscraper Is Approved For Construction

June 14, 2017

The design for a 12-storey wooden skyscraper has been approved and is awaiting permits in Portland, Oregon. The building called, Framework, will be constructed from cross-laminated timber and will be the tallest wooden structure in the United States.

[Image Source: Lever Architecture]

Design awaiting building permits

The design for the 43-meter wooden skyscraper has been approved for construction but contractors must wait for building permits before the construction process can start. The building will provide affordable housing to residents that earn below 60 percent of area’s median family income. It is hoped the construction will also inject energy into the local timber industry.

Lever Architects leading the way in timber building design

The 12-storey mixed-use building, meaning it will house both accommodation, offices and retail, is a collaboration between a local firm called Lever Architecture and real-estate developer Project. Thomas Robinson, Lever Architecture’s founder, explains that his company is interested in “exploring the relationship between materials, experience, and the environment—how the way we build impacts the way we live and the environment as a whole.”

 [Image Source: Lever Architecture]

The primary building material will be cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is an engineered wooden building system. It is made from lumber-oriented layers at right angles to one another and then clamped and glued to form structural panels. The panels have better strength, dimensional stability, and rigidity than traditional timber construction methods. Because of its high strength and stability, CLT can be used as alternative to concrete and steel in many building applications. The proposed skyscraper will also be made from Aluminum Composite Material (ACM). Framework is the third large scale wooden structure planned for development in Portland.

CLT  has the capacity to be as strong as steel. Reducing highly processed steel in large building projects have positive impact on the environment as some timber products can have a small carbon footprint than its metal counterparts.

Portland based Lever Architects are early adopters to products like CLT, their website states “Framework is part of a mutually beneficial cycle between natural resources, the rural timber industries that rely on these resources, and the cities served by the completion of these buildings.”

Once Framework is complete, it will most certainly act as a shining example for future buildings to experiment with these new materials.

[Image Source: Lever Architecture]

New addition to the affordable housing project

The wooden skyscraper will become part of the Affordable Housing Project in Portland. The City of Portland has a long term goal of significantly increasing the access to affordable housing. According to the Affordable Housing‘s website, there are 356 low income housing apartment complexes which contain 21,188 subsidized apartments for rent in Portland, Oregon. It is unclear how many apartments within Framework will become part of the program.  

[Image Source: Lever Architecture]

The building is expected to be completed by December this year.

Sources: ArchitecturalDigest, LeverArchitecture, AffordableHousing

SEE ALSO: Fazlur Rahman Khan: The Man Behind Every Modern Skyscraper

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