SAN DIEGO - A two-story cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure is being subjected to the forces produced by a 1994 6.7 Northridge earthquake. The engineered simulation is expected to reveal ways in which tall wood buildings could survive damaging earthquakes.

Workers constructed a 22-foot tall wood test structure on UC San Diego's shake table, a device for shaking structural models or building components with a wide range of simulated ground motions, like earthquakes.

Led by the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the new test will examine the viability of constructing quake-resistant CLT buildings that could be as tall as 20 stories high.

“We are working to minimize the amount of time buildings are out of service after large earthquakes," CSM engineer Shiling Pei said in a statement. "We are also focused on cutting the costs required to repair them.”

Cross-laminated timber advocates say it can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has also fueled the passions of architects and environmentalists, who believe it to be a much greener method for housing the world's growing population. 
 
Due to its benefits for carbon capture and reduced CO2 emissions in construction, CLT has sparked interest worldwide. Proposals for new projects include a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver.  The U.S. is even on board, with a 12-story CLT highrise in the works in Portland.
 
Engineers plan to build a 10-story earthquake-resistant timber building that will first be shaken, then set on fire in 2020.