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Case studies: Engineered wood brings cost savings and design flexibility across commercial project types

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Case studies: Engineered wood brings cost savings and design flexibility across commercial project types


Mark Halverson | January 2, 2015

For commercial architects facing increasing pressure to design innovative structures while simultaneously cutting costs and accommodating tight deadlines, engineered wood systems are providing a welcome solution. With the abilities to span long distances and support increasingly greater heights, engineered wood and wood structural panels deliver performance and versatility alongside familiarity, availability and affordability.

At APA Designers Circle, every day we come across stellar examples of beautiful, efficient, practical design that rely on wood and engineered wood framing. Here are a few of our favorites.

LeMay Museum—Tacoma, Wash.

An elongated curved roof system provides as much of an attraction at the LeMay Museum as the classic cars on display. The exposed, arching glulam beams—one of the largest moment frames in the world—soaring overhead bring a sense of warmth against the gleaming metal and glass below, while outside the streamlined effect emulates the aerodynamic surfaces of an automobile. Beyond looks, the use of wood beams was one of several features that allowed the design team to meet its tight budget without sacrificing the desired aesthetic.

Read how the glulam beams and purlins were engineered by downloading the full case study on Designers Circle.

Westend Garden Apartments—Denver

The Westend apartment complex in downtown Denver offers the best of both worlds: garden-style living in a walkable, close-in community. To maintain an air of urban sophistication, the 16 wood-framed buildings boast a modern aesthetic, with varied facades, colorful accents and hidden stairwells that reshape the notion of what garden-style can mean. Glulam beams in a variety of lengths and depths were essential to achieving those looks, providing support at key locations while saving labor and costs over alternative options.

See how glulam reduced installation time by downloading the full case study on Designers Circle.

Gunter Primary School—Gunter, Tex.

The Gunter Independent School District recently moved from steel to wood design for new buildings, citing its combination of performance and affordability. Those properties are on display at the Gunter Primary School, which boasts a pitched roof, long spans and dramatic angles that relies on a variety of lumber and structural engineered wood products to accomplish the design objectives.

To see how engineered wood’s combination of high performance and affordability make it an ideal option for safe, resource-efficient schools, download the full case study on Designers Circle.

Winfield Gate Luxury Townhomes—Houston

The four-story, 4,000- to 6,000-square-foot custom townhomes of Winfield Gate are soaring in size and replete with high-end features and thoughtful details, from the fully outfitted roof decks to the chefs’ kitchens. Behind the walls, the strength and design flexibility of glulam beams support the open layouts and innovative floor plans that meet the needs of the project’s empty-nester clientele.

Check out Winfield Gate’s numerous amenities and thoughtful structural design by downloading the full case study on Designers Circle.

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