The popularity of timber in construction continues to grow, both in the residential and commercial sectors. In fact, plans for the largest office complex built from the material were recently revealed. The plan is to create three stepped buildings in Newark, New Jersey that rise six, eight and eleven stories. In total this will create 500,000 square metres of space, making it the largest piece of timber commercial architecture in the USA.
When finished, the building will take the title away from an office and retail tower in Minneapolis that was completed in 2016. This property is currently the largest mass-timber building in America to date.
The Newark site is situated beside the Passaic River in a prime location. The site itself is 4.8 hectares, plenty of room for new commercial and office spaces. The designs intend to facilitate the functions of businesses whilst also protecting the health of employees and visitors.
One of the most important aspects of the project was that it was environmentally friendly. That is why the architect chose to use mass timber in place of steel or concrete. The materials are strong and durable but are more sustainable and produce far less carbon. In addition they dramatically reduce the construction time.
The renderings released for the project show some very interesting touches. Firstly the timber will be largely left exposed inside the properties. This will help to make it warmer, lighter, and more welcoming. A lot of glazing will also be used to keep the property light and reduce the need for artificial lighting.
There will be roof gardens on top of each block, adding to the greenery of the site. In addition, there will be patches of grass and landscaping outside the buildings.
The project is one of the most innovative pieces of commercial architecture seen in America in recent years. It showcases that architects and developers are thinking about sustainability and choosing the right materials. Engineered timber such as glulam and cross laminated are both beneficial.