The Best Of Our Knowledge
The Best Of Our Knowledge
#1660: Mass timber buildings could be a part of the climate solution | The Best of Our Knowledge

Jason Korb, the principal architect and namesake of Korb + Associates Architects, makes an interesting distinction about mass timber buildings, structures that largely eschew concrete and steel in lieu of wooden workarounds.

It’s not that mass timber buildings are a new discovery; we’re just rediscovering them. 

For Ascent, a 25-story apartment complex slated for completion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in August, it took “1,150 vertical timber columns, 1,320 horizontal beams and 1,273 horizontal deck pieces … held together by 645,000 metal fasteners” to realize the project. And in just a few weeks, it’s set to be the tallest mass timber building in the world.

At a time when it’s become increasingly difficult to deny climate change, almost every facet of human life is being scrutinized to help position the world for the least amount of damage from a changing planet. There’s still steel and concrete used as a base in these newest mass timber buildings, but the rate, cost and focus on renewable building materials could help make the approach a piece of the climate-solution puzzle.

The 25-story building, when it’s completed at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave., could serve as an accelerator, building off the almost-realized projects in Portland and Chicago that just didn’t quite make it.

Korb joins The Best of Our Knowledge to chat about the trajectory of his work, Ascent’s construction, changing building codes and Mjøstårnet — an 18-story mass timber building in Norway.

Pertinent links

Korb + Associates homepage

World’s tallest wooden building might soon join Milwaukee skyline

Wooden Skyscrapers Are on the Rise

The race to build wooden skyscrapers

Transforming trees into skyscrapers