Opening of T3 building continues recent mass timber building trend: Six examples

Today’s opening of the T3 building in Minneapolis marks a spectacular milestone: The construction of the tallest contemporary heavy-timber building in the US so far! I am saying “so far” because as this trend continues, it will surely by surpassed in height very soon.

Completion of the T3 building continues a recent trend of larger, taller, and more technologically advanced wood buildings. This trend is helped along by a stronger environmental awareness, better recognition of this amazing building material by code officials, better education and awareness of the actual properties of wood, and the recognition by the public and developers alike that wood is simply beautiful and “feels good”.

Continuing my older posts about tall (and big) timber, here is a (likely incomplete) list of exemplary recent North American buildings in wood (all finished in 2016, I believe):

T3 – Minneapolis, MN

The seven-story, 220,000-square-foot T3 office building in Minneapolis’s North Loop district will become the tallest modern wood building in the U.S. when it opens tomorrow. Designed by Michael Green Architecture and the DLR Group, the T3—which stands for Timber, Technology, Transit—features cross-laminated timber (CLT) and nail-laminated timber (NLT) clad in weathering steel.

Link: T3 Minneapolis mass timber building opens this month in Minneapolis –

UBC Brock Commons Phase 1 – Vancouver, BC

A hybrid of mass timber products with concrete and steel components, the 18-story, 174-foot-tall structure will house 404 students.

Brock Commons

Link: The University of British Columbia’s Brock Commons Takes the Title of Tallest Wood Tower – Architect Magazine

Kern Center – Amherst, MA

The 17,000-square-foot center, designed by Bruner/Cott & Associates, is designed “to be entirely self-sustaining and meet the Living Status of the Living Building Challenge.”


Link: New solar-powered Massachusetts college center is as green as a building can be – Inhabitat

Albina Yard – Portland, OR

Albina Yard in North Portland is the first building in the U.S. to use domestically produced cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels for a building-wide structural system

Albina Yard

Link: ALBINA YARD – reworks

Common Ground High School – New Haven, CT

The school … offers public school students an innovative curriculum of urban agriculture combined with sustainable land-management practices. Last April it [opened] the doors to the nation’s first building to use cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a “stressed skin” assembly.’



What’s Next?

The Design Building at UMass Amherst is an 87,000 sf academic structure that features not only CLT and glulam in its structure but is a first in the US for a long-span wood-concrete composite floor system and CLT shaft shear walls.

The Design Building is almost completed! As you can see in the image below, the contractors are putting on the last touches and are hopefully giving my new office a good final vacuuming. We will be moving in there in January 2017 with an official building opening scheduled for later that semester. I will post more about this building soon.

Design Building 2016-11-30

Want to learn more?

There’s a great recent publication by reThink Wood! about this. And the Smithsonian Magazine had this to say.

Comments and Reactions