Heavy timber to rise again in construction

At the turn of the 20th century, heavy timber was the preferred choice for providing the structural framing for multistory commercial and apartment buildings.

Remnants of that era are among the most treasured historic buildings in the Twin Cities, such as the 500,000-square foot Butler Square in Minneapolis, where Douglas fir trees were fashioned by timber magnate T.B. Walker into mighty posts and beams supporting the weight of the massive nine-story warehouse.

But with the rise of concrete and steel after World War I, the idea of using timber framing for tall buildings fell out of favor — at least until now, as environmentally conscious architects and engineers (and of course, the wood products industry) are pushing to revive what has largely become a lost art form as part of a larger “green building” movement.



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