Denver-based architecture office Tres Birds has announced that the city’s tallest mass timber building, is set to go into construction in July 2023.
Entitled Return to Form, the building will have 12 floors and its structure will use mass timber, with a new technology that uses small diameter trees from sustainably managed forests. Through continuous planting and responsible harvesting, these forests are becoming a source of renewable and low environmental impact building materials. The mass timber structure is made up of wood panels that are glued and laminated together, which provides strength, stability and fire resistance.
The recent development of mass timber construction allows us – for the first time in history – to design high-rise building structures out of a renewable resource: trees. This new fire-resistant building material is renewable, hence healthy for the planet. Trees utilize carbon to make oxygen, and vegetation cools the earth. Concrete – and the fossil fuels used to make and transport it – create more carbon that adds to global warming. We need to build all of our buildings out of renewable resources and manage those resources well.Michael Moore, founder and design principal of Tres Birds Save this picture!
The project was the winner of the competition Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero, in 2022. The building is designed with exposed wood for the walls and ceilings and large sliding windows. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, only a small percentage of the building is made with concrete: foundation, stairs, and the elevator core.
The growing interest in mass timber construction as a sustainable alternative to concrete is encouraging the use of this material. The methodology is under investigation for its modularity and its ability to be reused after the end of the buildings life, a concept called Design for Deconstruction or Design for Disassembly.