Chester Weir
Design Lead
Katerra, Seattle

Large-scale domestic manufacturing of engineered mass timber, and the recent adoption of tall wood building codes, have created a positive disruption for the building industry, and resulted in the ability to design and construct high-rise timber buildings that can outperform traditional building types. Given their high strength-to-weight ratio, opportunities for prefabrication, speed of assembly and sustainability benefits, mass timber buildings are uniquely positioned to meet the growing market demand for tall urban infill housing. However, traditional design and construction approaches cannot not fully leverage the inherent efficiencies of this new and innovative construction type. A new delivery method is required, which overlays design, engineering, manufacturing, factory production, and construction, and can enhance efficiency and proficiency on all aspects of modern residential development, while contributing to a sustainable urban future.

The design and delivery considerations to meet market needs through a fully-integrated service and building component approach are outlined, with the latter consisting of a component of library of unit designs, structural elements, cabinetry, and envelope panels that have been optimized around shipping and assembly logistics and are flexible enough to allow variability and site-specific building configurations. This new system is also designed to meet current building code requirements, utilizing fire protection analysis to meet the level of safety required by both the code and architectural and client aesthetic preferences.