Last year, the College of Forestry at Oregon State University welcomed Peavy Hall and the Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWP), two new mass timber buildings that serve as living laboratories for sustainable architecture. Designed by Canadian architecture firm Michael Green Architecture, the mass timber structures comprise a total of 2,130 cubic meters of wood that store 1,884 metric tons (2,077 U.S. tons) of carbon dioxide. A sustainable design approach was also applied to the buildings’ operations, which are optimized for energy efficiency.

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tall trees surrounding campus building

Built to house light-filled academic and office spaces, the 83,000-square-foot Peavy Hall beautifully champions timber construction both inside and out, from its modified Oregon Red Alder cladding to its exposed structural frame built from Douglas fir, which was sourced locally and fabricated less than 500 miles from the site. The building includes North America’s first-ever CLT rocking wall system that consists of seismic-responsive shear walls that can move and self-center during an earthquake event. Components of the rocking wall system can be selectively replaced should damage occur. Over 200 sensors are installed throughout the building to monitor moisture levels as well as vertical and horizontal structural movement. The data will be used to advance the development of mass timber construction. 

Related: North America’s first mass timber hotel opens in Austin

couches facing wall of glass
long tables in room with wood walls and ceilings and one end wall of glass

Like Peavy Hall, the 18,000-square-foot AA “Red” Emerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory also features a Douglas fir structural frame. The building provides dedicated research spaces and houses the TallWood Design Institute to advance research and development in the use of wood products and technologies in buildings. The lab includes a structural testing bay for prototyping structures up to three stories in height as well as a manufacturing bay equipped with advanced robotics and fabrication equipment.

people working with a robot in a metal-lined room
large wood-lined garage room with door opening to reveal the sunset over the horizon

Energy modeling informed the designs of both Peavy Hall and the AWP lab to optimize energy efficiency. The mass timber buildings are PV-ready, so they can easily be equipped with solar panels in the future. The planting palette around the structures consists entirely of native species. Stormwater is collected onsite and then retained and naturally filtered in a pond before it is discharged back into the local aquifer.

+ Michael Green Architecture

Photography by Josh Partee and Ema Peter via v2com