Everybody is talking about Tall Wood, but Skylab Architecture comes down to earth with a lovely small wood building.
Everybody is talking about tall wood these days, but here is a bit of small wood, a nice little building by Skylab Architects, on a funny little site created when some roads were reworked in Portland, Oregon.
B76 was designed as a working-class building aimed at public transportation connectivity, pedestrian openness, and bicycle priority access. It is positioned centrally in the new eastside community envisioned by the Burnside Bridgehead Framework plan. The ground floor will be activated by storefronts along third avenue and a work space above.
This wedge-shaped 20,000 sq ft building will feature a new CLT structural system with open ground level commuter oriented retail environments for daily guests and tenants. The workspace above will be wrapped in brick masonry with the building acting as an anchor for the Burnside Bridge and a gateway to the eastside community.
This is the kind of building mass timber was made for. It goes up quickly, it doesn't require a lot of trucks, and, being small enough not to need any fireproofing over the wood, looks just gorgeous inside. The architects have left the poured concrete stairs and elevator exposed, so you get all the materials at their most elemental and basic.
When there is a post and beam frame like this building has, there is no need to use Cross-Laminated Timber, which is more expensive than alternatives like Nail or Dowel Laminated. Here you can see the structure, with the CLT cantilevering out past the beams in both directions.
But then this has no joints for dust to fall out of and looks almost furniture-like in its quality. That's the thing about the new wood construction; you come for the sustainability and the carbon sequestration but you stay for the warmth and beauty.
It may well become a fun place to work too: "The building development team has additionally leased a small space under the bridge adjacent to b76 and the skate park for food carts. This will extend the Third Avenue ground level retail environment into the forgotten and unused urban spaces full of creative potential."
More photos at Skylab architecture, who also are really down to earth.