NEFF’s mass timber experts have selected case studies from New England’s completed mass timber buildings that demonstrate just how many ways architects and construction companies can use this strong, safe and beautiful material—and how many ways residents of New England can enjoy buildings made with sustainable wood.
An Innovative Space for the Next Generation of Design Professionals
John W. Olver Design Building | University of Massachusetts, Amherst | Building Type: Educational
Between a groundbreaking design and built-in demonstration opportunities, the Olver Building is helping to advance education and engagement around mass timber across New England. Completed in 2017, it is one of the most advanced mass timber buildings in the U.S. and houses the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Department of Building Construction and Technology.
Featuring exposed mass timber columns and an innovative wood-steel zipper-truss that spans the interior atrium, the building’s combination of cutting-edge construction techniques makes it a living case-study for students learning to design the next generation of wood buildings. Academics and students working in the building are also conducting research on the use of New England species in mass timber, including by demonstrating the suitability of eastern hemlock and eastern white pine for the material. At four stories tall, the building stores more than 1,800 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions in its wood structure. More information: University of Massachusetts Department of Building Construction and Technology | Leers Weinzapfel Associates
A Climate-Smart Structure for Families in Boston
11 E Lenox, Boston, MA | Building Type: Multi-Family
11 E Lenox is a pioneering, climate-smart building that is ushering in a new emphasis on mass timber construction in the city of Boston. The first all-mass timber project in Boston, this 7-story, 34-unit multifamily building is scheduled for occupancy in fall of 2022. The project team was able to achieve an ultra-low carbon footprint by employing a holistic design process that integrated state-of-the-art energy efficiency principles with the use of mass timber for the structure, which stores 844 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. By substituting for traditional building materials, the use of mass timber offsets 327 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. Additionally, the thermal insulation performance of wood works as a natural complement to the building’s energy efficient design. More information: Monte French Design Studio
Academic Buildings Highlight Opportunities for Maine Sustainability and Innovation
Barry Mills Hall and the John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME | Building Type: Educational
Bringing together mass timber innovation with environmental stewardship, Barry Mills Hall and the Center for Arctic Studies are helping to inspire a new vision for the forest bioeconomy in Maine. They will open on the campus of Bowdoin College in 2023 and will be Maine’s first all mass timber buildings. Mills Hall will provide classrooms, faculty offices, and a 200-seat auditorium, while the Center for Arctic Studies will feature new academic spaces and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. The use of mass timber provides a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a steel design. Supported by funding from the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the buildings demonstrate innovative possibilities for Maine’s forest economy and the communities connected to it, as well as a commitment to climate change mitigation. More information: Bowdoin College | Consigli Construction
Stunning Exhibit Space by the Sea
Thompson Exhibition Building, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT | Building Type: Assembly
Completed in 2016, the Thompson Exhibition Building is a 14,000 square foot, multi-purpose museum space that utilizes mass timber to connect visitors to maritime history. The design team used the material to create an outer façade that resembles a cresting wave and an interior that evokes the wooden hull of a ship. It hosts a 5,000 square foot exhibition area with high ceilings to accommodate boats, a visitor center, an event hall, a café, and terraces overlooking the riverfront. Mass timber was the ideal material as it enabled a sweeping, clear-span layout that could be configured for multiple events and exhibits, while calling to mind nautical themes. The project received a Wood Design Award from WoodWorks in 2018 in recognition of its innovative use of mass timber. More information: | Mystic Seaport Museum | Centerbrook Architects
Government Building Boasts Beautiful and Sustainable Office Design
Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance Office Building
Brockton, MA | Building Type: Government
Through the use of mass timber and a design layout that maximizes natural amenities, the Department of Unemployment Assistance Office Building is helping to usher in a new approach to sustainable and humane construction for government buildings in Massachusetts. The three-story, 33,000 square foot building combines the warmth and beauty of wood in a modern and flexible workplace environment. It features a cross-laminated timber and glulam column and beam structure, left exposed to create an uplifting interior. The aesthetic benefits of mass timber are complemented by an open-air tree terrace on the second floor and windows that span the building to bring in natural light. These amenities together make the building an exemplary case of designing for the wellbeing of occupants. Its long-span interior accommodates flexible staffing levels and different office configurations. The building is also helping to revitalize its downtown neighborhood as an urban infill project that replaced a dilapidated structure. Finally, the mass timber structure offsets and stores a combined total of 362 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. More information: Jones Architecture
A New Inspiration for Sustainable Housing in the City
Model-C at 201 Hampden, Boston, MA | Building Type: Multi-Family
Between its adaptable design and innovative use of local species, the Model-C demonstration building is helping to drive important advancements for the wood building revolution in Boston and across the region. Employing a replicable, kit-of-parts cross-laminated timber system, the five-story project includes 14 residential units and a coworking space on the ground floor. As one of the first mass timber projects in Boston, the designers are documenting and sharing lessons from the development process in order to facilitate knowledge transfer for building with the material, while the kit-of-parts system will allow the project model to be easily adapted to other sites. Through a U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant, the team will incorporate custom-milled CLT panels made from regionally-sourced eastern hemlock into the building. The project is expected to demonstrate an additional opportunity to use New England species in mass timber, along with spruce and fir. More information: Generate Architecture | Placetailor | ThinkWood
Want to Learn More?
Visit the interactive WoodWorks Innovation Network Map to access an up-to-date directory of mass timber projects in the U.S. and around the world. Project profiles include information on square footage, number of stories, material type, and cost, as well as photos. Users can search for a building by location and attributes.