Tallest timber building in the U.S. opens its doors

MINNEAPOLIS – The seven-story T3 tower features 220,000 square feet of prefabricated CLT timber panels and nail-laminated timber cladding.

It became the largest timber building in the U.S. when it opened Wednesday in Minneapolis. Designed by Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture and Architect-of-Record DLR Group, the office building is named T3, which stands for Timber, Technology, and Transit.

“As businesses compete to attract and retain staff, T3 offers a modern re-interpretation of the historic building that appeals to young professionals,” says Architect Michael Green. “It celebrates the robust character of historic wood, brick, stone and steel buildings, but provides state of the art amenities, environmental performance, and technical capability needed for competitive businesses in Minneapolis.”

In addition to being constructed of sustainable lumber, the building will sequester about 3,200 tons of carbon.

StructureCraft, who worked on the project, said the building, which resembles nearby historic warehouses in the district, features a structural system around a fifth of the weight of a similarly sized concrete building. StructureCraft says it was able to construct the 180,000 square feet of timber required in less than 10 weeks.

“T3 is a unique approach to office building and an investment in both the past and future of Minneapolis – specifically the rich history of the warehouse district,” says Green.  We have designed T3 to build on the character of the past with a progressive modern perspective.”

“It will have the ambiance of the old warehouses with timber beams that everyone wants, but solves all the problems of energy efficiency and light,” real estate firm Hines director Bob Pfefferle told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Advocates of CLT 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.  An 18-story CLT wood structure, a student residence at the University of British Columbia, is nearing completion.

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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].