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Tall timber construction gets the seal of approval in Oregon

The state is the first in the U.S. to legalize mass timber high rises

This building design approved for Portland, Oregon, would have been the tallest wooden tower in the country, but the project has now been put on hold due to market challenges.
This building design approved for Portland, Oregon, would have been the tallest wooden tower in the country, but the project has now been put on hold due to market challenges.
LEVER Architecture

Mass timber is having a moment. Plans for wooden buildings are popping up around the country, but the fact remains that building tall with timber is a challenge.

That’s slowly changing. Oregon recently approved an addendum to its building code that allows timber structures to be built over six stories without having to acquire special permission. This update to the state’s buildings code comes after years of scientific and technical evaluation around technologies like cross laminated timber, and it effectively recognizes mass timber as a safe and viable mode of construction going forward.

The state splits mass timber into three new classifications—buildings over 18 stories (270 feet), buildings with a maximum height of 12 stories (or 180 feet), and buildings that rise nine stories (or 85 feet). All three classifications have different requirements, with the tallest buildings being required to enclose all exposed timber surfaces and pass a three-hour fire-resistance rating for its structural pieces. At lower heights, the buildings can expose their lovely timber bones.

In June 2017, Oregon green lit the country’s tallest wooden tower, though that project has now been put on hold for market reasons, including inflation and rising construction costs.

As architects dream up of more timber high rises, Oregon’s new regulation could guide other states flirting with mass timber to embrace the material.

Via: ArchDaily