Mid-Rise Mass Timber in the Contemporary Workplace

  • YEAR
    Griffiths, Shannon Bridget
    Donn, Michael
    Merwood-Salisbury, Joanna
    Woodbury, Mark
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Design Thinking and Innovation


Mass timber construction, although an alternative construction method currently, is in the beginnings of a resurgence. Quick to erect, prefabrication friendly, light weight and sustainable – timber is an attractive material for urban construction. Presently, the body of knowledge on timber design is highly focused on technology, leaving absent from the discussion the spatial, functional or architectural implications of timber structures. While timber products are used extensively for low rise housing in New Zealand, little success has been found in the mid-rise market and even less so in the commercial sector. This research seeks to develop the interaction between timber structure and workplace planning at a mid-rise scale, suggesting ways mass timber, as a unique architectural language, can change future workplace design. Drawing on existing literature and the graphic analysis of a series of conceptual and new build precedent studies, it critiques and extracts key concepts of both workplace and mass timber design. Reflecting on current workplace models, we suggest that future mass timber construction offers potential, utilising its inherent properties, rather than as a simple substitute for steel and concrete.

Keywords: Mid-rise mass timber; commercial architecture; workplace design.


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