PI: James Ricles
University: Lehigh University

Tall buildings in the range of eight to 20 stories are common for urban construction because they provided a means for developers to balance occupant density and land price. While traditional light-frame wood construction is not economically or structurally viable at this height range, a relatively new heavy timber structural material, cross laminated timber (CLT), has made tall wood building construction possible.

This panelized product utilizes small lumber layers glu-laminated in an orthogonal pattern to create solid wood panels that can be used as wall and floor components in a building. Currently, a number of successful CLT building projects around the world (e.g. the ten-story Forte building in Melbourne, Australia; the nine-story Stadthaus Building in London, etc.) have highlighted the viability and benefit of tall wood construction, which includes a reduction in construction time, reduced demands in foundations, and positive environmental impacts. While not yet common, CLT construction is gaining traction among building owners and investors, and becoming a viable option for tall buildings in large cities.

Furthermore, ambitious projects are currently planned for regions with moderate levels of seismicity. The vision of this project is to develop a seismic design methodology for tall wood buildings that incorporates high-performance structural and non-structural systems and can quantitatively account for building resilience. This vision will be achieved through the completion of a series of research tasks, including full-scale biaxial lateral load testing of building sub- assembly systems.