April 3-5, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
The goal of this research was to develop a structural system for tall buildings using mass-timber as the main structural material that reduces the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the structure. The structural system research was applied to a prototypical building based on an existing concrete benchmark for comparison.
This paper discusses key design issues associated with tall mass-timber buildings along with potential solutions. It is believed that the system proposed in the research and discussed in the paper could mitigate many of these design issues. The main structural mass-timber elements are connected by steel reinforcing through cast-in-place concrete at the connection joints. This system plays to the strengths of both materials and allows the designer to apply sound tall building engineering fundamentals. The result is believed to be an efficient structure that could compete with reinforced concrete and structural steel while reducing the associated carbon emissions by 60 to 75%.
The goal of the Timber Tower Research Project was to develop a structural system for tall buildings that uses mass timber as the main structural material and minimizes the embodied carbon footprint of the building. The research was applied to a prototypical building based on an existing concrete benchmark for comparison. The concrete benchmark building is the Dewitt-Chestnut Apartments, a 395-foot-tall, 42-story building in Chicago designed by SOM and built in 1965.
SOM's solution to the tall wooden building problem is the Concrete Jointed Timber Frame. This system relies primarily on mass timber for the main structural elements, with supplementary reinforced concrete at the connecting joints. This system plays to the strengths of both materials. The result is an efficient structure that could compete with reinforced concrete and steel while reducing the carbon footprint by 60 percent to 75 percent.