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Bjarke Ingels Group designs a mass timber cube structure for the University of Kansas

Mass Timber

Bjarke Ingels Group designs a mass timber cube structure for the University of Kansas

Dubbed the Makers’ KUbe, the six-story, 50,000-sf building will showcase sustainable practices through its mass timber diagrid frame.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | April 25, 2024
Bjarke Ingels Group designs a mass timber cube structure for the University of Kansas
Rendering: Kilograph

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and BNIM have unveiled their design for a new mass timber cube structure called the Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design.

A six-story, 50,000-sf building for learning and collaboration, the light-filled KUbe will house studio and teaching space, 3D-printing and robotic labs, and a ground-level cafe, all organized around a central core. Developed in response to and in collaboration with the school’s students, faculty, and board, the design reduces the use of materials and carbon-intensive concrete.

The KUbe will showcase sustainable practices through its mass timber diagrid frame, which is inspired by traditional Japanese joinery techniques and engineered by structural engineer StructureCraft. The mass timber construction uses tight-fit dowels and notched glulam (glue laminated timber) to form an all-wood mass timber structure with columns and beams that run diagonally, without steel plates or fasteners. 

Transparent façade showcases mass timber building 

Rendering: Kilograph
Rendering: Kilograph

The façade is a mass timber structure enclosed in glass. Its mix of transparent and opaque insulated glass puts the school’s creativity on display while also offering privacy and reducing glare. 

“The Makers’ KUbe is conceived as a showcase in timber tectonics, traditional joinery, robotic manufacturing, and sustainable materials. The timber bones of the building are exposed by stripping away all applied finishes—elevating structure to expression,” Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, Bjarke Ingels Group, said in a statement.

The project will consolidate all of the university’s architecture and design programs into three interconnected buildings by tying together the new KUbe with the existing Marvin Hall from 1908 and Chalmers Hall from 1978. Marvin Hall’s stone façade and interior spaces will be preserved, while Chalmers Hall will be renovated to allow in more daylight.

The Makers’ KUbe and Chalmers Hall will draw energy from rooftop photovoltaic panels. Rainwater accumulated on the KUbe’s roof will be stored and used to irrigate the site’s landscaping, which includes native species that reduce water needs.

On the Building Team:
Owner: University of Kansas
Design architect: BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)
Collaborating architect: BNIM
MEP engineer: Smith & Boucher
Structural engineer (timber): StructureCraft
Structural engineer (existing building, enclosure): Walter P Moore

BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Rendering: Kilograph
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Rendering: Kilograph
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Rendering: Kilograph
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Full-scale mock-up by StructureCraft; photo by Graham Handford
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Full-scale mock-up by StructureCraft; photo by Graham Handford
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Photo by BIG
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Photo by BIG
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design
Photo by BIG
BIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & DesignBIG designs mass timber Makers’ KUbe for the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design

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