Ongoing interest in high-rise timber applications and technology has led to a boom in innovative building method research, with the hope of turning design concepts into structural realities.
Benton Johnson, an associate director in the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), who published his Timber Tower Research Project in 2013, is at the forefront of this movement. The project—which received an honorable mention in ARCHITECT’s 2014 R+D Awards—delved further into reality-based timber tower applications in 2016 when SOM and Oregon State University conducted structural load tests on a full-sized cross-laminated timber deck with a structural reinforced concrete topping slab. This particular test was a huge success, but there is still much to be done before timber becomes a mainstream building method for tall structures. In this episode, ARCHITECT talks to Johnson about the benefits and challenges of bringing tall timber buildings to market.