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Mass-Timber Construction

Mass timber has colossal potential to reduce embodied carbon in the built environment. We have the experience to use it with confidence.

Lead Contacts

Ascent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Courtesy KAA Design Group / Nairn Okler
The Ascent project brings together the many structural, sustainability and aesthetic benefits of mass timber, including an abundant amount of exposed wood in the interior. Thornton Tomasetti
Ascent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Courtesy Swinerton Mass Timber
Ascent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this structural model, yellow denotes timber framing, with gray for concrete and red for steel.
The architectural façade for the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020 is a wind screen formed by timber elements arranged in a lattice geometry. Courtesy EllisDon Construction Ltd.
Chicago Horizon at the 2015 Chicago Architectural Biennial, Illinois. Courtesy Chicago Architecture Biennial
Patrons Insurance Building in Portland, Maine. Robert Benson Photography
New Belgium Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. Thornton Tomasetti
St Clare's College in Oxford, United Kingdom. Peter Cook/View
Coronado Boathouse & Clubroom in California. Bryan Wayne photo
Coronado Boathouse & Clubroom in California. Bryan Wayne photo
GE Forefront in Welland, Canada. Doublespace Photography
St Clare's College in Oxford, United Kingdom. Peter Cook/View

Lighter and far more sustainable than concrete or steel, mass-timber construction is gaining ground as a primary structural material. Our engineers have experience in designing mass-timber buildings and components in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Making mass timber construction a mainstream option

We’ve analyzed the pros and cons of the various types of mass-timber systems, including cross-laminated timber (CLT), dowel-laminated timber (DLT), glue-laminated timber (glulam) and nail-laminated timber (NLT or nail-lam). And we understand – and have overcome – the challenges involved in getting approvals when codes don’t include provisions for these materials, especially in tall structures.

We engage early with suppliers and local regulatory bodies to ensure that the mass-timber systems we design and deliver will meet the requirements of local authorities. When the research doesn’t exist to back up our designs, we work with testing labs to prove our designs and publish our results to help move the mass-timber industry forward.

Leading the Industry in Tall Mass Timber

In 2017, we published a research project in the CTBUH Journal that examined feasible strategies for building an 800-foot, 80-story timber tower in Chicago. We worked with architects from Perkins+Will and researchers from the University of Cambridge to explore design strategies, code and life-safety implications, and environmental considerations. Today, we’re the structural engineers for the tallest mass timber tower in the world.

News & Resources

Ascent Tops Out
December 17, 2021
Taking the lead as the tallest mass timber building in the world, the 25-story Ascent has topped out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.