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T3 first modern tall wooden building of USA

Wooden high-rising buildings become more and more popular. Examples of (planned) constructions are HoHo Wien in Vienna, Baobab in Paris, Canopia in Bordeaux, Dalston Lane in London and Patch22 in Amsterdam. The USA has now joined in this trend with their first modern tall wood building called T3 in Minneapolis, which was designed by Canadian firm Michael Green Architecture. The building is made with wood damaged by insects.

Building with wood is of course not a new phenomenon, as people have built their homes out of wood for a long time. But recently, timber is being rediscovered as building material, especially in high-rising buildings. Building with wood has several advantages over building with concrete. It costs less CO2 to produce (rather the opposite, since trees absorb CO2), it is a renewable material, and it is light. In addition, wooden buildings are easier to assemble, which reduces the building time and costs. Research of the University of Cambridge even claims wooden buildings are more fireproof.

But most importantly, people just generally like the look, feel and smell of wood. Wood makes us happier and increases our health.

The new seven-storey building T3, which stands for timber, technology and transit, contains 224,000 square feet (20,810 square metres) of office and retail space. It is currently the largest completed mass timber building in the USA, but that is not the only thing that is special about it. The wooden prefab panels that are used to construct the building are made from trees that are killed by mountain beetles. Usually, this wood is thrown away to decompose. The mountain beetle, which population increases due to global warming, has wiped out more than 60 million acres (24,281,138 hectare) of North American forest.

Glue- and nail-laminated timber was used to construct the roof, floor slabs, columns and beams, as well as furniture for in the building. The wood could quickly be assembled. Workers constructed 180,000 square feet (16,720 square metres) of timber framing in less than 10 weeks. Because the building is lighter than a comparable concrete building, the depth of the foundation could be reduced. The outside of the building is clad with corrugated panels of weathering steel.

T3 heralds the beginning of the age of timber in the USA. Other wooden buildings are planned in Manhattan, Portland (Oregon), and Vancouver.

Photos: Ema Peter (via Dezeen)