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Mass timber construction is making great strides in the tall building market. Recent examples have been completed, or are in development, in Canada, Europe and Australia where progressive building climates exist and the sustainable attributes of wood are driving its acceptance. Mass timber construction is predominantly composed of engineered components such as glulam columns and cross-laminated timber floor / wall panels which are comprised of strands of young growth wood laminated together. Wood is inherently strong in compression, but in tall buildings supporting elements are introduced such as reinforced concrete at beams & connections and post-tensioned steel cables for lateral stability.

The Center for Architecture, Design and Education (CADE), situated at the north-west corner of Millennium Park, was the perfect opportunity to further our research in mass timber construction while testing it against a complex program, building code considerations and a heritage of modernism. Our interests centered on the general feasibility of timber integration as well as a more nuanced look into proportion, layering, sustainability and the resulting experience.