Special Subject: Architecture Design — Mass Timber Design: Investigative Research Towards a 1:1 Mass Timber Building Prototype

Permission of instructor

With increasing demands placed on the planet through population growth and urbanization, energy remains one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Buildings are one of the largest consumers of global resources and all energy produced, and are primary contributors to greenhouse gases and solid wastes. At moment when the built environment is faced with dramatic shifts, the need for energy intelligent building prototypes is more significant than ever. 

Mass Timber, a wood based building design and construction technology, has received attention over the last 30 years given its efficiency, speed, precision and versatility in construction for low to high-rise applications. The accelerated adaption of the technology additionally comes from its environmental benefits of low energy manufacturing, the buildings acting as carbon sinks through CO2 storage, and their high Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) profiles (lower emissions of greenhouse gases, less air and water pollution and lower waste). 

 North America is witnessing a “Mass Timber Movement,” with the completion of an 18 story tower in British Columbia, a 7 story tower completed in Minnesota, and a recently approved 12 story tower in Oregon, amongst numerous other projects. Mass timber technology is currently being integrated into the International Building Code (IBC) through recent successful fire and seismic testing. With Boston’s anticipated building demand over the next 20 years, organizations are investigating resources in New England for local production of mass timber products. The goal of the workshop is to equip participants with the technical knowledge of mass timber systems, and work collectively to conduct investigative research towards a 1:1 building prototype for Boston at the intersection of design, engineering and science. 

 A foundation of mass timber technology will be provided through in class lectures, video conference lectures, invited guest lectures and visits. The combination of the different formats aims to integrate the course with progressive members from industry. The workshop encourages a cross-disciplinary research domain, and welcomes participation of students from all departments & discipline groups.