In an effort to bring down carbon emissions and streamline the building of cost-effective urban housing, Boston-based AEC technology company Generate is focused on revolutionizing the city’s construction industry. Generate has created The Tallhouse, a template for adaptable, low-carbon housing that prioritizes the structural use of mass timber.

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rendering of gardens outside tall timber building

It’s no secret that buildings account for a massive portion of greenhouse gas emissions through embodied and operational energy. That, paired with rapid population growth and urban densification, presents a problem for future sustainability goals for Boston. The city is experiencing pressure from housing shortages and carbon-output, which has inspired goals of building 300,000 housing units and 40,0000,000 square feet of commercial buildings while reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 80% in 2050. If the status quo of carbon-emitting structures is maintained at its current level, according to the company, these goals will remain unattainable.

Related: World’s tallest hybrid timber building proposed for Sydney

timber apartment interior with chairs facing large windows

For these reasons, Generate has assembled a group of industry leaders to develop The Tallhouse, which will comprise a catalog of four mass timber structure templates that illustrate a range of design options that are quick, sustainable, cost-effective and high-quality. The team identified carbon emission savings from building materials and construction, displaying information on each building component to help increase transparency on the environmental implications of construction.

section view and diagram of modular timber housing complex design

“Already, we are designing individual mass timber projects relying on these digital systems, which are now starting to go up in Boston,” said John Klein, CEO of Generate. “But the Tallhouse catalog was developed with the specific intent of at once enabling our cities to achieve their ambitious CO2 footprint reduction goals, and to meet growing demand for affordable, biophilic housing. We trust these systems will be widely accessible to architectural communities globally, and serve as a vehicle to deploy sustainable materials at scale.” The Tallhouse catalog is meant to inspire sustainable systems but also aid policy makers in decisions regarding eco-friendly building materials.

section view of housing unit with open-plan living room and kitchen and a bathroom module

The building templates include a hybrid steel and cross-laminated timber structure; a mass timber post, beam and plate structure; a hybrid light-gauge metal and cross-laminated timber structure; and a full and cross-laminated timber plate honeycomb structure. Systems are designed for anywhere from eight- to 18-story buildings. In addition to the sustainable framework, the structures include low-flow water fixtures, LED lighting and large windows to let in daylight.

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Images via Generate