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Timber City: A New Trend of Tall Timber Architecture on Display in Washington D.C.

framework building

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. doesn’t usually do current events exhibitions, but its curators say that all changed this year with Timber City due to a coming evolution in architecture. Namely: the spread of high-rise wooden structures, which are taking off across the world so fast, we can barely keep track of which one’s currently holding the record as the highest. Timber City examines tall-timber construction as it expands into a contemporary trend, comparing it to growth in the use of reinforced concrete in the early 20th century.

The exhibit shows off a wide variety of new architecture being made with new types of wooden construction techniques, including the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT). While its safety has already been tested and demonstrated convincingly enough to prompt new building codes and the embrace of architects, this type of tall timber architecture won’t be accepted as mainstream until consumers appreciate it for its physical beauty, according to Professor Susan Piedmont-Palladino, one of the project’s curators.

“This fall, the Museum challenges the notion that wood is an antiquated building material when it opens Timber City,” reads the project’s website. “The exhibition demonstrates the many advantages offered by cutting-edge methods of timber construction, including surprising strength, fire resistance, sustainability and beauty. Drawing attention to the recent boom in timber construction worldwide, Timber City further highlights several U.S. based projects, including two winners of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council.”

The exhibit went up on September 17th and will remain in place through May 21st, 2017, so if you get a chance to visit Washington D.C., pop into the National Building Museum and check it out.

Pictured: The 130-foot-tall Framework Building in Portland, Oregon


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