Experts recommend hybrid structures for tall timber buildings

Mass-timber-frame enthusiasts extoll the virtues of the structural material not only because it is renewable but also because building with timber is typically speedier, safer, simpler and quieter than building with concrete or steel. Still, most timber experts say hybrid structural systems are their choice for tall mass-timber frames because they take advantage of the best features of timber in combination with steel and concrete.

For the University of British Columbia’s 174-ft-tall Brock Commons dormitory—which, when it opens in September, will rank as the world’s tallest timber frame—the design team developed a hybrid approach for gravity and lateral loads, said Thomas Tannert, a University of Northern British Columbia professor of integrated wood engineering, at the 2017 Structures Congress, held in Denver on April 6-9. There were 1,377 attendees at the conference, hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Engineering Institute.


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