flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

A new mixed-used building in L.A. could set the stage for greater mass timber use for western construction

Mass Timber

A new mixed-used building in L.A. could set the stage for greater mass timber use for western construction

Part of a trend that’s seeing CLT gain acceptance for bigger projects across the country.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | November 1, 2021
A five-story building in downtown Los Angeles is making extensive use of cross-laminated timber. Images: LEVER Architecture
A 75-ft-tall building under construction in downtown Los Angeles will be another showcase for the use of cross-laminated timber. Images: LEVER Architecture

A building team that includes Santa Monica, Calif.-based developer Redcar Properties, Portland, Ore.-based designer LEVER Architecture, and Boston-based GC Shawmut Design and Construction has been working on what will be one of the tallest cross-laminated timber office/retail buildings in Los Angeles.

The 125,000-sf mixed-use building, located in that city’s Chinatown district downtown, will be just under 75 ft tall upon its scheduled delivery in August 2022.The project—an adaptive reuse of a single-story retail mall that had been vacant for 30 years, across the street from Metro’s Chinatown Station—broke ground last April and is about 30 percent completed. The installation of the CLT began last month.

LEVER Architecture’s website states that the design splits the five-story building into two sections, with a tiered vertical garden courtyard between the office wings. The site is slightly sloped, and its entry staircase will connect Spring Street to New High Street. The building team worked with landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations to incorporate a series of outdoor terraces and decks, as well as open-air circulation elements, according to the website Urbanize Los Angeles.

Shawmut has previously done a number of projects that included CLT, including Brown University’s Wellness Center and Residence Hall, and the North Hall dorm for the Rhode Island School of Design. Prior to the latest project in Los Angeles, Shawmut had worked with Redcar over the past few years on other buildings, says Greg Skalaski, Executive Vice President-West in Shawmut’s Los Angeles office.

The building's amenities will include open common spaces.
Among the building's amenities will be several terraces with open common spaces.
 

HYBRID CONSTRUCTION

The British Columbia-based mass timber manufacturer Structurlam supplied the 5-ply CLT for the Los Angeles project, including 364 panels totaling 75,776 sf. Skalaski confirms that this project was able to use thinner CLT than might normally be specified because of the building’s hybrid construction that is reinforced by concrete decks on every floor. He adds that Redcar would have used even more CLT on this project were it not for code-mandated limitations.

Skalaski says that using domestically fabricated mass timber during a period of uncertainty about lumber pricing and availability “adds stability to the supply chain.” And using CLT, a carbon negative material that emits less CO2 than other construction products, allows for less concrete, reducing the building’s carbon footprint further.

Skalaski believes this project could become an important milestone for the west coast in terms of mass timber’s acceptance as a construction material among developers, AEC firms, and municipal building departments. “CLT is catching on in a bigger way, and you’re starting to see more projects using it.” He points specifically to Walmart’s under-construction Home Office campus in Arkansas (which Skalaski has visited) that will use 1.7-million cubic feet of mass timber for 30-plus buildings. “It feels so different with exposed ceilings of mass timber,” he says.

Natural light and vegetation are part of the building's overall design.
Letting in more natural light is a big part of this building's design.
 

 

Related Stories

Mass Timber | May 22, 2024

3 mass timber architecture innovations

As mass timber construction evolves from the first decade of projects, we're finding an increasing variety of mass timber solutions. Here are three primary examples.

Mass Timber | May 17, 2024

Charlotte's new multifamily mid-rise will feature exposed mass timber

Construction recently kicked off for Oxbow, a multifamily community in Charlotte’s The Mill District. The $97.8 million project, consisting of 389 rental units and 14,300 sf of commercial space, sits on 4.3 acres that formerly housed four commercial buildings. The street-level retail is designed for boutiques, coffee shops, and other neighborhood services.

Mass Timber | May 8, 2024

Portland's Timberview VIII mass timber multifamily development will offer more than 100 affordable units

An eight-story, 72,000-sf mass timber apartment building in Portland, Ore., topped out this winter and will soon offer over 100 affordable units. The structure is the tallest affordable housing mass timber building and the first Type IV-C affordable housing building in the city. 

Mass Timber | Apr 25, 2024

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

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and executive architect 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.

Libraries | Apr 24, 2024

New mass timber Teddy Roosevelt library aims to be one with nature

On July 4, 2026, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is scheduled to open on 93 acres in Medora, a town in North Dakota with under 130 permanent residents, but which nonetheless has become synonymous with the 26th President of the United States, who lived there for several years in the 1880s.

Mass Timber | Apr 22, 2024

British Columbia changing building code to allow mass timber structures of up to 18 stories

The Canadian Province of British Columbia is updating its building code to expand the use of mass timber in building construction. The code will allow for encapsulated mass-timber construction (EMTC) buildings as tall as 18 stories for residential and office buildings, an increase from the previous 12-story limit. 

Mass Timber | Mar 17, 2024

Timberlab to build its first mass timber manufacturing plant

The facility anticipates continued demand growth.

Mass Timber | Feb 21, 2024

The future of mass timber construction will depend on codes, costs, and climate change

Hines and DLR Group are moving forward on multiple projects using engineered wood.

Mass Timber | Feb 15, 2024

5 things developers should know about mass timber

Gensler's Erik Barth, architect and regional design resilience leader, shares considerations for developers when looking at mass timber solutions.

Mass Timber | Jan 2, 2024

5 ways mass timber will reshape the design of life sciences facilities

Here are five reasons why it has become increasingly evident that mass timber is ready to shape the future of laboratory spaces. 

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category


Mass Timber

Charlotte's new multifamily mid-rise will feature exposed mass timber

Construction recently kicked off for Oxbow, a multifamily community in Charlotte’s The Mill District. The $97.8 million project, consisting of 389 rental units and 14,300 sf of commercial space, sits on 4.3 acres that formerly housed four commercial buildings. The street-level retail is designed for boutiques, coffee shops, and other neighborhood services.



Mass Timber

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

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and executive architect 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.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021