Posts tagged with "LEVER Architecture":

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The country’s tallest timber building wraps up in Portland

As the race heats up to demonstrate that timber is a viable alternative to concrete for mid and high-rise buildings, Portland, Oregon, has been leading the way in realizing mass timber projects. The latest to claim the country’s tallest timber building crown is Carbon12, an 85-foot tall mixed-use building in Portland, designed by PATH Architecture. Built with a mix of glulam beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) surrounding a central steel core, the eight-story building was designed to have a minimal environmental impact and promote Oregon’s local timber industry. As downtown Portland addresses a growing demand for housing, timber projects constructed with prefabricated CLT panels cut off-site, like Carbon12, hold a speed advantage over traditional steel and concrete techniques. Carbon12 features a mix of 14 residential units, each with their own recessed balcony, as well as retail on the ground floor and a mechanized underground parking system. While the exterior is clad in vertically striated metal paneling that recalls timber grain, PATH chose to accentuate the natural materials of the interior spaces by leaving the wood columns, beams, and undersides of the CLT slabs exposed for a warmer feel. PATH’s focus on sustainability as a requirement in part drove their decision to use timber for Carbon12. Because locally grown timber can sequester more carbon dioxide than is used to grow and transport the wood, it often has a smaller carbon footprint in production than steel or concrete. Carbon12 will also feature solar panels on the roof. Although Carbon12 is currently the tallest timber building in the U.S., it won’t be for long. The 148-foot tall, 12-story Framework building, also in Portland, is shooting to take the title once it finishes in winter of 2018. Designed by LEVER Architecture and the Framework Project, Framework will feature a wood core as opposed to steel. Still, as timber buildings continue to push higher and higher, they may be paving the way for the eventual acceptance of timber as a mainstream urban construction material. Carbon12 is now fully complete and units are available on the market.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Research

2017 Best of Design Award for Research: Snapping Facade Designer: Jin Young Song (University at Buffalo, Dioinno Architecture) Location: Conceptual

Snapping Facade explores a sustainable design strategy that utilizes elastic instability to create dynamic motion at the building envelope. The current dynamic shading systems adopt either glass enhancement or motorized mechanical movement. This study introduces snapping-induced motion as an alternative actuation mechanism to control apertures, and proposes Snapping Facade as a new dynamic shading system. Based on analytical and numerical study, the researchers fabricated the assembly of a prototype snapping facade and validated the hand-operated snapping motion. The proposed snapping facade suggests a novel way to recycle the strain energy stored in structures via elastic instability.

"This is a novel idea that could serve as a precursor for more facade-related projects in the future." —Matt Shaw, senior editor, The Architect's Newspaper (juror)
Project engineer: Jongmin Shim Research team: William Baptiste, Jing Jiang, Hakcheol Seo, Andrew Koudlai   Honorable Mention Project: The Framework Project Architect: Lever Architecture with the Framework Project Location: Portland, Oregon Framework is a 90,000-square-foot, 12-story project that is slated to become the first wood high-rise in the U.S. Approval for the project required 40 tests to demonstrate mass timber’s fire, structural, and seismic safety. The testing data will be made public to support a regulatory path for high-rise wood structures and encourage wider adoption of mass timber in the U.S.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Office & Retail

2017 Best of Design Award for Office & Retail: Albina Yard Architect: LEVER Architecture Location: Portland, Oregon

Albina Yard is the first building in the United States made from domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT). This new 16,000-square-foot speculative office building utilizes mass timber construction, with a glue-laminated timber frame and CLT panels manufactured and prefabricated in Riddle, Oregon. The project’s primary goal was to utilize domestic CLT in a market-rate office building that would pave the way for broader adoption of renewable mass timber construction technologies in Oregon and the United States. The design approach reflects a commitment to this sustainable technology by developing an architecture focused on economy and simplicity, material expression, and the careful resolution and integration of all building systems to foreground the beauty of the exposed Douglas fir structural frame.

“As a structural strategy, mass timber is very similar to a cast-in-place concrete structure in terms of layout and function of its individual elements. The main difference is the character and humaneness of the remaining spaces.  It is very well-suited for this type of use.” —Nathaniel Stanton, principal, Craft Engineer Studio (juror) General Contractor: Reworks Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers CLT Supplier: DR Johnson Lumber CNC Routing: Cut My Timber   Honorable Mention Project: Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters Architect: Deborah Berke Partners Location: Indianapolis, Indiana This new office building reinforces an active pedestrian experience that is connected to downtown Indianapolis and its parkland. The unusually slender floorplan and high ceilings provide abundant natural daylight for every space and minimize reliance on electricity. A high-performance “calibrated” facade and an integrated system of fins and shades limit heat gain and increase thermal comfort.   Honorable Mention Project: Zurich North America Headquarters Architect: Goettsch Partners Location: Schaumburg, Illinois Located on a 40-acre expressway site in suburban Chicago, the North American headquarters of the Swiss Zurich Insurance Group reflects the company’s global reach and commitment to sustainability. Composed of three primary “bars” that are offset and stacked, the arrangement creates unique spaces for collaboration, opens views of the surrounding landscape, optimizes solar orientation for amenities, and provides programmatic flexibility.
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Lever Architecture crafts a mass timber office building in North Portland

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In Portland, Oregon, even the buildings are bespoke and locally-sourced. At least, that’s the case with Lever Architecture’s Albina Yard project, where the developer—Portland-based Reworks—tasked the architects with creating a marquee structure that could be used as a testing site and showroom for emerging mass timber systems built from locally-sourced lumber.
  • Facade Manufacturer Sierra Pacific
  • Architects LEVER Architecture
  • Facade Installer REWORKS (contractor); Dallas Glass (windows)
  • Facade Consultants KPFF Consulting Engineers (facade engineering)
  • Location Portland, OR
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Glulam columns and beams with CLT floor/ceiling panels
  • Products Sierra Pacific Architectural Wall System; Douglas Fir mullions with a Port Orford Cedar cap.
The 16,000-square-foot speculative office building is a love letter to mass timber construction that proudly utilizes prefabricated elements as finishing materials, leaving raw Douglas Fir cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and glulam beams rough and unadorned. Albina Yard is the first building in the U.S. to use domestically produced CLT panels as the primary structural building element. The speculative nature of the four-story office building forced the designers to be “very, very deliberate about architectural moves,” according to Thomas Robinson, founding principal at Lever Architecture. The mindset resulted in a rather straightforward building: A plywood shear wall–wrapped elevator core anchors the rectangular office block along one of its long sides, leaving open spans elsewhere. Besides the elevator, the core contains bathrooms, egress stairs, and an accent stair made entirely of CLT panels. The building’s U-shaped open plan provides large-span offices topped by glulam beams with columns spaced farther apart than would be allowed under less rigid structural systems. Both short ends of the building are studded with windows—The principal facade contains ground floor retail that hugs the street while the back face overlooks a modest courtyard containing a small shipping container that houses a separate office. Custom-fabricated, powder-coated steel connections hold the wood assemblies together, their engineered bolts embedded deep within the mass of each glulam beam. “We wanted to find a way to embed steel in the wood to protect it from fire,” Robinson explained in reference to the buried bolts. He added, “the powder coat finish prevents the connections from rusting and staining the wood, as well.” Like the structural members, the connections were digitally-fabricated to order for the project and designed to “drift” in either direction by as much as 2% in the event of an earthquake, providing just enough flexibility for the building to sway but not shatter. The crisp structural connections and exposed fire suppression and HVAC systems lend the structure the type of elemental clarity usually reserved for utilitarian warehouse spaces, on-brand for creative office–seeking clientele. The building’s main facade is clad in a custom window assembly made up of large floor-to-ceiling spans of plate glass interrupted by narrower expanses containing operable windows. “We were excited to express wood on the exterior of the building,” Robinson said, highlighting the rot-resistant Port Orford Cedar wood mullions and window frames along the gradually cantilevering facade. The window wall is an indication, Robinson said, of the building’s innovative structural system. The face of the building steps out little by little as it climbs, with the second and third floors together projecting four feet out and the fourth floor above cantilevering just a few more feet over the street. The depth of these cantilevers is directly related to the spanning capabilities of the three-ply CLT panels used to structure the building. Ultimately, the project—now fully leased—seems to pull off its intended showroom purpose, showcasing glulam beams that were machined in Portland and CLT panels manufactured in southern Oregon, with everything made from Oregon-harvested lumber.
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The first cross-laminated timber high-rise in the U.S. now has a building permit

It’s a first for the United States: the State of Oregon and City of Portland have granted a building permit for the first Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) high rise over 85 feet. The building is called Framework, an under development 12-story (148 feet tall), 90,000-square-foot mixed-use building in Portland, Oregon designed by LEVER Architecture that will make use of a wood core structure. The building will house a bank and timber exhibit at ground level, offices and affordable housing above, as well as a roof deck and garden. Construction is expected to begin this fall, while the building is slated to open in the winter of 2018. The design required rigorous fireseismic, and other safety tests to prove its durability compared to typical steel and concrete construction. Testing and research at Portland State University and Oregon State University was funded in part from a $1.5 million U.S. Tall Wood Building award sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture. While Framework is not the first tall wood building in the U.S.—Michael Green Architecture with DLR Group designed T3, a seven-story mass timber building clad in steel in Minneapolis and completed in November 2016—it is now the tallest permitted mass timber building in the U.S. today.
In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was the first U.S. city to allow CLT in construction, yet the current building code caps wood office buildings at six stories high and wood residential buildings at five stories. Oregon may have gained an advantage through a convergence of factors: ample resources, performance-based testing, political support, and perhaps even that quirky Portland entrepreneurial spirit. “Projects like the Framework building present a new opportunity for Oregon that we are perfectly suited to take on,” said Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, in a statement. “Oregon’s forests are a tried and true resource that may again be the key to economic stability for rural Oregon, expanding opportunity for communities hit hard by the decline of the natural resource economy. The Framework building shows that we can use sustainably harvested timber in a sustainable way to act as a catalyst for economic development through the creation of timber and manufacturing jobs in rural economies.”
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LEVER Architecture is bringing mass timber construction into the mainstream

The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series spotlight individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the discipline of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury, composed of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner, selected architects and designers who have significant bodies of realized work that creatively address larger issues in the built environment.

The Architect’s Newspaper featured the Emerging Voices firms in our February issue; stay tuned as we upload those articles to our website over the coming weeks. The firm featured below (Portland, Oregon–based LEVER Architecturewill deliver its lecture on March 16, 2017, at The Architecture League in New York City. Click here to learn more!

Architect Thomas Robinson kick-started his career with Joseph Esherick, the architect best known for designing the Hedgerow Houses at Sea Ranch, California, followed by stints leading institutional and cultural projects at Herzog & de Meuron in Switzerland and Allied Works in Oregon. In 2009, Robinson, a graduate of UC Berkeley and later Harvard (studying under Peter Zumthor), decided to branch out on his own, launching LEVER Architecture from his Portland basement.

Over the past eight years, his firm has grown to 18 employees. A winner of the USDA’s U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize, LEVER Architecture has found a niche working with cross-laminated timber (CLT). “Timber is often hidden away,” Robinson said. “We want [timber] to be part of a greater architectural experience.” While mass timber construction isn’t new—according to Robinson it has been around since the 1930s—there is a rediscovering and understanding of the technology coupled with modern advances in fire safety, seismic engineering, and acoustics that has made it more feasible.

LEVER Architecture is currently working on a 90,000-square-foot, 12-story CLT high-rise in Portland. The project, Framework, incorporates a wood-core structure. When completed in 2018, it is expected to be the first mass-timber high-rise in the United States. The design relies on a post-tension CLT rocking wall, which, as Robinson explained, is a resilient low-damage design that takes advantage of the lightness and strength of wood. “Wood moves and can re-center itself,” he said.

Other recent LEVER projects also feature mass timber: There is Albina Yard, the first office building in the U.S. built with domestically manufactured CLT (LEVER Architecture recently moved its offices to this four-story, 16,000-square-foot building), and L’Angolo Estate, a winery tasting room in Newberg, Oregon.

At the core, Robinson explained that LEVER’s design projects are about the transformative power of materials. “It’s almost akin to product design at the level of a building.”

With funding from the National Science Foundation and a $1.8 million grant through the U.S. Tall WoodBuilding Prize, LEVER is implementing a performance-based design process throughout its projects. The grants help pay for additional research costs to demonstrate that CLT high-rise buildings are equivalent to traditional steel construction.

LEVER advocates mass timber as a more sustainable way of building while encouraging economic growth in the Pacific Northwest. “We look to the farm-to-table model, where people are connected more directly to the producer,” Robinson said. Translated from the culinary scene to the architecture world, the “forest-to-frame” approach is about building stronger relationships between architects, contractors, and the people growing the timber.

“We focus on simple materials and how to put them together to form transformative experiences,” Robinson said. “We’re interested in an economy of means. It’s rare being both at the cutting edge and having a seat at the table.”