Second Mass Timber Conference

Portland, Oregon is preparing for the second annual International Mass Timber Conference and it’s shaping up to be even bigger than last year.


Produced again by Forest Business Network, the conference is attracting professionals from around the world to discuss innovative building products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber (nail lam), glue laminated timber (glulam), and other mass timber products. Hundreds of attendees from 15 countries have registered so far and many more are expected before the event from March 28-30. For year two, the conference has moved to the Oregon Convention Center to account for the growing number of attendees and speakers.

Back by popular demand, a mass timber building tour will precede two days of educational panels, an expo, and networking events. NEFF staff participated in the 2016 tour and visited five mass timber buildings in and around downtown Portland. This year, new buildings have been added to the tour and include Carbon12, Ankrom Moisan Headquarters, and Fire Station 76. Participants in 2016 visited Albina Yard while it was still under constructions, but this year will be able to see it completed.

carbon12  (Carbon12, the tallest timber and CLT building in the United States, will be a stop on the 2017 mass timber building tour. Photo credit: Baumber Studio)

The conference will also be led by keynote speakers including Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for The Rolling Stones and a conservationist tree farmer. The educational tracks have also doubled in size and now features 80 global speakers addressing topics such as the environment, sustainability, developing, building, architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and research.

Craig Rawlings, President & CEO of Forest Business Network, said of the upcoming conference, “A dedicated mass timber event was needed when we launched the inaugural Mass Timber Conference in 2016 and yet the fever pitch excitement for these products and our 2017 event only reaffirms that mass timber is the new sustainable choice for greener buildings and growing cities.”

A detailed agenda, building tour information, interactive exhibit hall floorplan, and more can be found at

We hope to see you there!

Timber City exhibit opens in D.C.

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. is opening their newest exhibit, Timber City, on Saturday, September 17th.

The exhibit focuses on the advantages of timber construction such as strength, fire resistance, sustainability, and aesthetics. Timber City will highlight the recent expansion of tall wood buildings in the U.S., such as the two winners of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition.


Timber City was made possible by Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura, founding partners of the Boston-based architectural design firm ikd. Kim and Itakura curated and designed the exhibition which combines architectural models, prefabricated wood walls, and large examples of mass timber. There is also a focus on the newest timber technologies, such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), and a look at how timber manufacturing can stimulate other manufacturing communities.


Two events  related to tall timber construction will also be occurring this fall at the museum. The talk “Murray Grove: A Case Study In Tall Timber Construction” by building designer Andrew Waugh will take place on September 20th and “Spotlight on Design: SHoP, LEVER Architecture, Arup” will focus on the benefits of tall timber construction on October 13th.

Timber City is funded in part by the U.S. Forest Service, the Softwood Lumber Board, and Nixon Peabody. Timber City has been adapted from an exhibition organized by ikd for BSAspace at the Boston Society of Architects. Timber City will be on display until May 21, 2017.

To read the full description of Timber City and for more information, visit The National Building Museum’s exhibit site.


Mass timber building tour an informational start

With the Mass Timber Conference in Oregon officially concluded, NEFF’s Emily Kingston reflects back on the conference’s kick-off event: an all day tour of Portland’s leading mass timber buildings. Emily, NEFF’s Build It With Wood project coordinator, joined 100 other conference attendees in donning hard hats as they explored Portland on an all-day tour.

The mass timber buildings were in varying stages of completion, from under construction to fully completed and in use. The five buildings that were on the tour were Framework, The Hudson, Albina Yard, The Courtyard, and Clay Creative.

The tour began with Framework. The Framework building is designed by Works Partnership Architecture around the idea of a “ship in a bottle” and recently won the WoodWorks 2016 Wood Design Award in the Commercial Wood Design category.

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(The interior of the Framework building. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

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(The exterior of the Framework building with the wood beams visible through the windows. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

After Framework, the group moved on to the second building on the tour,  The Hudson. The Hudson is a three-story brick facade, glass, and exposed timber structure. The 45,000 square foot building will house offices for Killian Pacific and Mackenzie, the architecture and design firm that is a partner in the building’s construction. The ceiling is exposed nail-laminated wood supported by wood beams and metal connectors.

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(The interior of The Hudson, currently under construction. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

Wrapping up the morning was the third building, Albina Yard. Albina Yard is a 16,000 square foot creative office building currently under construction in Portland’s Mississippi District. Albina Yard is the first building in the U.S. using domestically-fabricated cross-laminated timber as a structural element. We’ve talked previously about Reworks and LEVER Architecture gearing up for Albina Yard.

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(Albina Yard was under construction during the Mass Timber Building and Construction Tour. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

After lunch, the group toured multiple buildings at an area known as The Courtyard. The Courtyard at One North includes three separate buildings; The Radiator, Karuna East, and Karuna West. The Radiator is a 5-story office building at the gateway to North Portland and is the first all-timber building of its scale built in a century. Karuna East is 4 stories and Karuna West is 5 stories. Both Karuna buildings are clad in cedar. The Radiator recently won the WoodWorks 2016 Wood Design Award for Multi-Story Wood Design.

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(The cedar clad exterior of Karuna West. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

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(The exterior of 5-story Radiator building. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

The tour concluded with the Clay Creative building. Clay Creative is developing this 72,000-square-foot, six-story, wood-framed office building. The LEED Platinum building is currently under construction and uses Oregon-sourced heavy timber and built with glulam beams.

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(The first floor of the Clay Creative building features thick glulam beams. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

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(The wooden beams in Clay Creative’s building. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

Thank you to all the people involved in putting the Mass Timber Building and Construction tour together and demonstrating the newest building designs in wood buildings!

Countdown begins for Mass Timber Conference

Only a few short weeks separate today until the Mass Timber Conference kicks off in Portland, Oregon!

The first annual Mass Timber Conference (short for “massive timber”) will be hosted by the Forest Business Network at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront. A diversity of sectors is expected to be represented at the event including architects, engineers, city planners, construction companies, mass timber manufacturers, fire officials, state and federal agencies, code officials, environmental and forestry NGOs, and academia.

Participants will attend panels during the three day conference with topics such as U.S. Market Growth, Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities, and International Market Lessons Learned.

Framework is one of several buildings on the Mass Timber Conference tour
(Interior of Framework, one of the buildings on the Mass Timber Building Tour. Photo credit: Works Partnership Architecture)

The focus of the conference is to “explore current opportunities and obstacles for cross-laminated timber, nail-laminated timber, glulam panels, laminated veneer lumber, and other mass timber construction in North America and how to execute projects today.”

While the conference has a North American focus, participants from around the world will share their experiences in the international movement. In addition to USA and Canada, attendees will be coming from Denmark, Australia, Germany, Austria, England, and New Zealand.

Keep an eye out for New England Forestry Foundation staff member Emily Kingston who will be attending the conference and the Mass Timber Building Tour!

Upcoming Mass Timber Conference in Portland, OR

Modern tall wood buildings, engineered wood products, and cross-laminated timber are just some of the topics covered at the Mass Timber Conference this year. From March 22-24, global experts and interested individuals will gather at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront in Portland, Oregon. The event is co-produced by Forest Business Network and WoodWorks, two industry leaders in the discussion around massive timber products and construction. The event is sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, Hexion, Softwood Lumber Board, and Vaagen.

The theme of the conference is to “explore current opportunities and obstacles for cross-laminated timber, nail-laminated timber, glulam panels, laminated veneer lumber, and other mass timber construction in North America and how to execute projects today.”

Logo for Mass Timber Conference

The conference will kick off with a Mass Timber Building and Construction Tour around Portland. Participants will learn about mass timber construction while touring some of Portland’s newest mass timber buildings up-close. Highlights on the tour include the Framework building, Albina Yard, Clay Creative, and the Radiator.

Much of the conference will be filled with educational panels and presentations. Over 45 presenters from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia will introduce their global perspectives to the panels and lead discussions around mass timber. Speakers include Valerie Johnson of DR Johnson Lumber, Robert Malczyk of Equilibrium Consulting, Thomas Robinson of LEVER Architecture, and Cees de Jager of Softwood Lumber Board.

Throughout the conference as well, there will be an exhibit hall with sponsors showcasing the latest developments.

Thinking about attending? Register here and receive a 20% discount through March 9!


American Wood Council and reThink Wood host panel discussion

The American Wood Council and reThink Wood recently hosted a panel discussion called “Urban Sustainability, Rural Prosperity” in Washington, D.C. The panel event focused on the potential for greater use of wood in construction of tall buildings. The panel included U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell, architect Michael Green, Dr. Jim Bowyer of Dovetail Partners, Inc., and Kathleen Sims, Vice President of Government Affairs for Plum Creek Timber Company. Opening remarks were made Steve Lovette of Softwood Lumber Board and Jennifer Cover of WoodWorks, while American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski moderated.

The event was hosted in part to celebrate National Forest Products Weeks. The panel discussed green buildings, engineered wood products, sustainable forestry, and life-cycle analysis of building products.

You can watch the entire event on the American Wood Council’s YouTube channel or watch below.

Read more about the event and view presentation slides on the American Wood Council 2015 Forest Products Week page.

A first look at UMass Amherst’s Integrated Design Building

On the campus of University of Massachusetts Amherst, 100 people celebrated the construction of the new Integrated Design Building. Set to open in the Spring of 2017, the building will be the home to Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Architecture from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the Building Construction Technology program from the College of Natural Sciences.

(Construction is under way at the site of the future Integrated Design Building. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

At 87,500 square feet, the building will consist of classrooms, computer labs, lounges, materials-testing lab, green-building lab, a wood shop, a cafe, exhibit space, library, and function spaces. According to the building construction website, it will also include a covered indoor courtyard on the first floor and an outdoor courtyard complete with green roof on the third floor.

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said it will be “the most advanced wood structure in the United States.”

Design rendering

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(Design renderings of UMass Amherst’s Integrated Design Building)

The building was originally designed for a steel and concrete frame, but was redesigned to consist of glue-laminated wood, cross-laminated timber and wood-concrete composite.

20151016_110319(An example of the wooden beams which will be used during construction. Photo credit: Emily Kingston)

Former Congressman John Olver worked with UMass Amherst staff and professors to secure an additional $3 million in funding, which allowed plans for the wood building to move forward.

2015_Design_Bldg_Celebration_js_9444(Former Congressman John Olver, far left, assists in the symbolic groundbreaking for the Integrated Design Building. Photo credit: UMass Amherst)

We’re looking forward to seeing more of this project! Read more about the current status of the building on the building’s website.

Climate Week 2015 event a success

On opening night of Climate Week New York City 2015, panelists at the “Sustainable Development Benefits of Building with Wood” event looked to our nation’s forests for innovative climate solutions. Organized by New England Forestry Foundation, Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and Sustainability Practice Network, the panel considered how wood construction could play a revolutionary role in reducing the extent of future climate change.

The event took place in September as part of the seventh annual Climate Week which is organized by the international non-profit The Climate Group. The Climate Group aims to undertake climate change issues and global greenhouse gas emissions through solutions compatible with economic growth. Over 100 events encouraging climate change discussion, awareness, and action were hosted by community groups, universities, NGOs, and companies from around the world during Climate Week.

(From left to right: Frank Lowenstein, Patrick Holmes, Michael Deane, Michael Green, Dr. Chad Oliver, Bill Parsons. Not pictured: Roger Platt)

The panel consisted of six diverse and accomplished experts in architecture, green building engineering, and forest conservation. The panel included Michael Green (Michael Green Architecture), Patrick Holmes (USDA), Frank Lowenstein (New England Forestry Foundation), Dr. Chad Oliver (Yale University), Bill Parsons (WoodWorks), and Roger Platt (U.S. Green Building Council).  Michael Deane (Turner Construction Company) moderated the panel event.

The open-dialog discussion began with Vancouver-based architect Michael Green who is known for his designs of wooden skyscrapers. In his opening statement, Green began by showing a rendering of the 102-story tall Empire State Building made of steel cables surrounded by wood panels. Speaking passionately to the crowd, Green said, “We have to shift society’s perception of what’s possible because we haven’t seen a new way to build a skyscraper before this in the past 100 years. It’s tough to change the construction industry, but it’s happening.”

Michael Green presenting(Michael Green addressing the crowd about tall timber buildings. Photo credit: NEFF)

Proceeding Green was NEFF’s own Deputy Director Frank Lowenstein who highlighted the economic and environmental aspects of increased use of wood in buildings along with the benefits of active forest management. Lowenstein proposed a radical idea to maximize the carbon benefits of forests by harvesting them in a sustainable way, improve their health while doing so, and to store that wood carbon in long-lasting buildings as much as possible.

Dr. Chad Oliver, Director of Yale’s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry, then continued the conversation on forest management. He discussed the carbon emission benefits of avoiding steel and concrete, along with how to protect the biodiversity of forest ecosystems.

Frank Lowenstein presenting(Frank Lowenstein presenting on sustainable forestry. Photo credit: NEFF)

Patrick Holmes, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary at the U.S.D.A., followed Oliver. He highlighted the recent announcement of the winners for the 2015 Tall Wood Building competition, a mixed-use building in Portland, Oregon and a residential condominium in New York City. Emphasizing the importance of a forest products market, Holmes argued that building with wood combats economic challenges through innovation.

National Director of WoodWorks, Bill Parsons, reviewed current building codes allowing for wood buildings in U.S. He mentioned that creating mid-rise wood buildings is well within code and that, “There are lots of applications that don’t require you to build the biggest building you can imagine.”

Roger Platt, President of the U.S. Green Building Council, concluded the panelist presentations with talk about LEED certifications and life-cycle analysis of building materials. He discussed issues with sourcing materials long distances away from the site and the significance of regulation during manufacturing.

After opening the floor for questions from the audience, the panel further discussed sustainable forestry, land protection, and energy efficiency of buildings.

Watch all of the presentations from the event on our video section!