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Green Building News

Cross-Laminated Timber Condos Planned in Portland

A condominium complex will be the tallest CLT structure in the U.S. when complete

Carbon 12, an eight-story condominium project in Portland, Oregon, to be constructed with cross-laminated timber panels placed second in a design competition.
Image Credit: PATH Architecture

A Portland, Oregon, architectural firm is planning an eight-story condo building that would become the tallest structure in the country to be built with cross-laminated timber (CLT), an alternative to conventional steel-and-concrete construction.

The building, called Carbon 12, was designed by PATH Architecture and recently won a $45,000 grant from Oregon BEST and the newly formed National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design. The grant will help with acoustic and moisture testing.

CLT is an emerging technology in which panels up to 10 feet tall, 60 feet long and 18 inches thick are made by gluing dimensional lumber together in perpendicular layers. Panels can be used for walls, floors and roofs. Proponents say the panels are an untapped resource of green building because they make use of short pieces of lumber and, unlike steel and concrete, sequester carbon.

The material has proved popular in Europe, Oregon BEST said, but U.S. architects and builders have been stymied by requirements for added documentation, unusual modeling requirements and building code hurdles. And the panels are hard to get — an Oregon company, D.R. Johnson, is apparently the country’s only producer of panels certified for structural applications, at least so far.

Carbon 12 will top U.S. height records, but an 18-story CTL building is underway in Vancouver, Canada and should be completed next year.

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