The nation’s largest timber building has officially opened its doors in Minneapolis. Designed by Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture and Architect-of-Record DLR Group, the seven-story tower is the first modern wooden building of its kind to have been built in over 100 years. Created from prefabricated timber panels, the 224,000-square-foot building’s structural system was quickly pieced together like LEGO blocks on-site at a speed far exceeding conventional steel-framed and concrete buildings.
Located in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood, T3 mimics its historic warehouse neighbors with its blocky shape, but steers clear of the heavy bulk. The wooden building’s structural system—mostly cross-laminated timber and nail-laminated timber—weighs approximately one-fifth of similarly sized concrete buildings. 180,000 square feet of timber framing was installed in less than 10 weeks. The majority of the wood is beetle-kill pine sustainably harvested from the Pacific Northwest. The prefabricated timber panels were combined with a spruce glulam post-and-beam frame, all of which sits atop a concrete slab.
The 224,000-square-foot mixed-use building houses office and retail space in a light-filled modern interior that celebrates the timber construction. “The entire timber structure of T3 was left exposed and illuminated with a percentage of the interior lighting directed up to the ceiling,” said Candice Nichol, MGA Associate and T3 Project Lead. At night, “the illuminated wood glows from the exterior similar to a lantern.”
Images via Ema Peter