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Designing with Mass Timber

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Research Published on

Exploring Mass Timber

In 2023, Corgan’s Office practice along with Hugo, the firm’s research and innovation team, conducted a design sprint to explore the drivers of mass timber’s growing popularity and understand the implications of using mass timber. This sprint included a literature review to identify the state of the industry including the current market and manufacturing, benefits to users and clients, and drivers for continued growth.

Additionally, the team examined the differences between concrete and mass timber construction through a prototypical six-story office building design in Dallas, Texas. This comparative study aimed to understand the financial, experiential, and sustainable benefits of mass timber versus concrete construction.

The design and evaluation of these prototypes were done in partnership with Swinerton, a national construction company, Texas Air Systems, and Timberlab, a research subsidiary of Swinerton, who has paved the way for innovation in mass timber building delivery over the past five years.

Explore the current market and manufacturing, a comparative case study, and more as we continue to probe innovations in design and building construction: 

Corgan's 2023 Report: Designing with Mass Timber

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Prototype Comparison

Mass Timber v. Concrete

Based on an existing Corgan office building in Austin, Texas, Corgan’s study compares a six-story mass timber and concrete prototype to understand their differences and the impact on structural design, layout, mechanical systems, flooring, structural detailing, acoustics, aesthetics, building performance, user experience, embodied carbon and more.

Mass Timber in Context

Step inside the opportunities and limitations of designing and building with mass timber

Emerging innovations in materials such as mass timber often provide new promise such as improving user experience or cost savings to the construction process. But to understand their impact, use potential, best practices, and sometimes their challenges requires a more comprehensive study. In our report, we investigate the potential benefit of working with mass timber--how it might benefit users or add efficiencies--as well as implications of working with the material including code, labor, sourcing, and coordinating between disciplines during the construction process. 

What is the differences and potential benefits of working with mass timber versus concrete? How do you minimize waste and maintain accuracy? What does it mean for fire code or subassembly design? Corgan's report researches and balances the benefits of working with engineered wood and what it means for users and the future of our practice. 

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AR Tabletop Model
Continue Exploring

AR Tabletop Model

In our CorganAR app, we have added an AR tabletop model where viewers can experience both our mass timber and concrete prototypes, use the slider tool to take a section view, and read information pop-ups to share financial, sustainable, and experiential outcomes from this comparison analysis. To enjoy this mobile only experience, download the CorganAR app. 

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Designing with Mass Timber

Read the full report for more information on our study, findings, methodologies, and limitations. 

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