- M.A. Mortenson Co., in association with Urban Development Partners, is constructing Arizona's first cross-laminated timber (CLT) Class A office building in Tempe, Arizona.
- Designed by RSP Architects, the five-story, 185,000-square-foot structure will feature 15-foot exposed wood ceilings with glulam (glue-laminated timber) wood beams and columns. The Beam on Farmer, which will include an attached parking garage, will also use concrete and steel in the building's construction.
- The CLT used in this project will capture 3.5 tons of carbon dioxide, and the material's production is zero-waste, with scrap going toward the creation of biofuel or other products. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2020.
The use of CLT and other mass-timber products like glulam, dowel-laminated timber (DLT) and nail-laminated timber (NLT) is still new enough that many projects represent the first of their kind for cities around the country. These developments are made possible by revisions to local and international building codes, or at least the willingness of building departments to test the material in order to verify that it is safe enough for human occupancy.
Federal lawmakers are even pushing for more mass timber projects through last year's Timber Innovation Act, which also provides grants for standout proposals that advance the use of wood and that promote sawmill jobs in areas of high unemployment.
One city open to working with developers in order to achieve a safe mass-timber building is Milwaukee, which is slated to be home to the tallest mass timber structure in the Western Hemisphere, the 21-story, Ascent residential and mixed-use tower. The city's Department of Neighborhood Services has been consulting with the local fire department regarding the safety of building that high with wood, and the project's developer New Land Enterprises said it is open to making necessary safety upgrades to resolve their concerns.
Texas has also taken its place in the category of mass-timber firsts with construction of the Gensler-designed First United Bank building in Fredericksburg, Texas. This is the first mass-timber building for the state and also the first to use Southern yellow pine, a wood that is native to Texas.
Likewise, Des Moines, Iowa, will have its first mass-timber building with construction of a DLT office project in the downtown. This will also be the first multi-story DLT office building in the U.S. The project design includes precast concrete walls at the core and prefabricated, 8-foot-by-20-foot DowelLam panels for the floors and roof.