Concrete and steel had their day but wood is the building material of the future.
Real estate developer Hines Interests LP has proposed building a seven-story office and retail building, called T3, out of timber in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood.
“It provides an authentic building that is respectful of the neighborhood,” Hines director Bob Pfefferle told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “This will have the ambience of the old warehouses with timber beams that everyone wants, but solves all the problems of energy efficiency and light.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that building taller structures with timber is becoming feasible because of technological advances that could allow for wood buildings as high as 42 stories. Some groups, like ReThink Wood, argue that wood is an environmentally friendly alternative to some common construction materials.
That conversion process may take a while, according to the Wall Street Journal:
But convincing developers and builders to switch to wood will be a hard sell. In the end, the use of timber in construction will largely be dictated by environmentally minded landlords and tenants looking for buildings that emit less carbon to create and consume less energy to operate.