Nexus Recovery Center

Case Study

Nexus Recovery Center

Dallas, Texas

The Challenge

Nexus Recovery Center, a non-profit established in 1971, has been at the forefront of providing comprehensive treatment and support to women battling substance abuse. Initially focused on rehabilitation, Nexus has evolved to offer a wide range of services including therapy, life skills training, childcare, and wellness treatments. The primary challenge in creating the Doswell Building was to develop a space that could simultaneously address the diverse needs of its occupants and integrate a variety of programs within a single facility. This task required reconciling the need for both public engagement spaces and private, contemplative areas within an optimized environment.  

The Design Solution

The Doswell Building’s innovative design solution encompasses a dual-configuration approach, dividing the structure into two distinct yet interconnected segments through a central courtyard. The courtyard serves as both a divider and a unifier, where one side caters to the community with amenities like a large circle drive, community rooms, and a vibrant social hub, while the other side provides a tranquil space for admissions and dorms.  

The master plan for the campus integrates natural elements, redefines the campus’s focal point, and establishes a new primary entrance. The use of modest materials—concrete, timber, and stainless steel—along with strategic glazing, creates a space that feels secure yet open, dignified yet unassuming. The building’s exterior incorporates natural elements and sustainable practices, from the courtyard’s sanctuary-like atmosphere to the façade’s tree-inspired patterns, emphasizing the connection between the built environment and the healing process. 

The project emphasizes a strong connection to nature, featuring landscapes designed to withstand the harsh North Texas summers with gravel beds, rocks, and drought-resistant vegetation, minimizing irrigation needs. A significant budget allocation supports stormwater management, introducing a large detention pond and bioswales to control runoff, enhancing campus safety and protecting nearby residential areas. 

Phase II of the project involves creating new facilities for the Pregnant and Parenting Women and Children program and a Child Development Center. The dorms will expand to 30 rooms with private accommodations for moms and babies, along with community kitchens and increased staff to provide better care. The Child Development Center will be relocated to a larger facility with increased capacity and additional trained teachers and therapists.

The Design Impact

The Doswell Building is designed to become a new cornerstone for a diverse range of occupants, offering a dual configuration that cleverly balances public interaction and private reflection. By offering a space that embodies dignity, security, and community, the building plays a crucial role in supporting women and families, providing them with a safe and welcoming environment. Through its thoughtful multifaceted approach, the Doswell Building represents a design that is both inviting to the public and supportive of the residents’ journey to recovery.

Project Features


Dell Children’s Medical Center North Campus

Case Study

Dell Children’s Medical Center North Campus A Pediatric Care Destination

Austin, Texas

The Challenge

To keep pace with the growing Central Texas population, Dell Children’s Medical Center is expanding with a new north campus that will be the first pediatric hospital in Williamson County. This campus will provide comprehensive health, wellness and emergency services in a child-friendly environment.

The HKS design team was challenged to develop a space that would continue to position Dell Children’s as a leader in pediatric health care, recruit world-renowned talent, and create a destination for programs poised for national prominence.

The Design Solution

Working in partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas and community physician partners, the hospital will attract medical professionals who specialize in pediatrics. As a designated safety net hospital and Level III trauma center, the hospital will treat any type of illness regardless of ability to pay.

Dell Children’s will continue to develop groundbreaking programs such as fetal care, pediatric congenital heart services, which completed its first heart transplant at the main campus in 2020. Future programs may include a genetics and rare disease center.

Building upon the identity of the existing campus, the exterior design for the new hospital continues a story of connection to care and community. The exterior uses the same color tones, limestone brick and a tower that features a coronet inspired by the Daughters of Charity, who started a hospital in Austin in 1902 that would later become Dell Children’s. The interior design also mimics the look and feel of the main campus, creating a familiar and welcoming place for children and families to heal. It is an extension of the surrounding landscape, with large windows and spaces optimize natural light promoting health and wellness. Floor patterns evoke nearby karsts or watering holes and large-scale graphics depict local landscapes. Each floor is represented by a different theme and color to help with wayfinding.

The Design Impact

Dell’s Children’s Medical Center North Campus will be the first pediatric hospital in Williamson County, a vibrant fast-growing suburb of Austin. It is a destination for all levels of pediatric care by strengthening existing specialties and developing additional pediatric complex care programs. It ensures that children and their families never need to leave the Austin area for their critical care needs.

Dell Children’s Medical Center is part of a $1 billion investment in healthcare infrastructure for Central Texas. Since 2020, HKS has designed more than 800,000 square feet (74,322 square meters) of expansion space for Dell Children’s Medical Center at Ascension, including two parking garages.

Project Features


CyrusOne Headquarters

Case Study

CyrusOne Headquarters New World Headquarters Connects Staff and Boosts Efficiency

Dallas, Texas, USA

The Challenge

CyrusOne sought to establish a new world headquarters to promote operational efficiency, increase staff connection, and recruit and retain top talent. The data company tasked global design firm HKS with designing the new office space to enable employees to do their best work, embody the company’s rich culture and be a business catalyst for years to come.

The Design Solution

Initial test fits of various office spaces identified an ideal location for the headquarters on the top floors of the Harwood No. 10 building in Dallas’ Harwood District — a 50,000-square-foot (4,645-square-meter) space featuring a penthouse level with 360-degree views of Downtown and Uptown Dallas. Rather than working within the given framework of inherited office space, CyrusOne identified the company’s unique attributes and key priorities to ensure the new space speaks to the character of the organization and its values. 

Both company leadership and general staff embarked on a workplace strategy process to identify the organizational roles, work processes and organizational culture that would make the build-out of the office space uniquely CyrusOne. Work sessions, an employee survey and focus groups to discuss survey results generated a data-informed approach to workplace design and planning. 

A communicating stair connects the three floors to encourage a higher rate of collaboration and use of the amenity space and conference center located at the penthouse level. With ample seating and easily detachable technology, the breakroom is a café and small event space. All-hands meetings can flow out of the large training room into the café space and even onto the outdoor terrace. Bench seating at the base of the communicating stair and coffee stations at the east and west ends of the building serve as landmarks that support additional opportunities to form organic connections.  

Formal meetings can be held in the office’s large conference spaces or training room. The training room features classroom-like seating and presentation capabilities, while one conference room can be configured into three smaller meeting spaces with operable partition walls. The other large conference space is a boardroom-style space lined with floor-to-ceiling windows.  

One of the office’s hallways is home to custom touches that represent the brand’s culture and identity. CyrusOne’s “Rules of the Road” mottos are highlighted on a wall adjacent to a long wire memo board that showcases postcards and items such as a baseball cap that are important to the company’s identity.  

The Design Impact

CyrusOne’s world headquarters is a meaningful space for the company as it continues to grow its international business in the data center marketplace. The project embodies the CyrusOne brand and work experience as a result of extensive engagement with employees and leadership.  

Project Features


HKS Structures Team Talks With Green Building & Design Magazine on Sustainable Concrete

Cosm

Case Study

Cosm Amplifying Experience with Shared Reality

The Colony, TX & Hollywood Park, CA

The Challenge

Cosm and HKS endeavored to design venues that offer fans a revolutionary way to experience sporting, entertainment, educational and cultural events through innovative technology and viewing environments.

The Design Solution

Cosm is an entertainment, media and technology company that is changing the way people experience digital media, live entertainment and sporting events.  HKS and Cosm collaborated to create two venues where viewers can enjoy Cosm’s innovative immersive technology.

One venue is in HKS-designed Hollywood Park, the Inglewood, California site of the firm’s renowned SoFi Stadium. The second venue is in The Colony, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The two sites blend digital and physical experiences in what Cosm terms “shared reality.” The architecture and technology combine to make viewers feel like they have front-row seats at a live event, are personally visiting a cultural site or natural wonder, or are traveling through space in real time. Both Cosm locations are designed to offer live immersive sports streaming, concerts and cultural events, immersive exhibits, educational content and more.

The identically designed Cosm venues comprise three main components: the Dome, the Deck and the Hall.

The Dome features a massive, curved screen inspired by Cosm’s more than 75 years of experience building planetariums and science centers. The screen’s brightness – 100 times that of a standard planetarium – provides enough light during a presentation for people in the Dome to stand up, move around and enjoy a communal experience. The Dome includes lounge-type seating as well as food and beverage services.

The Hall, which is adjacent to the Dome, features multiple seating tiers and a curved, 150-foot-by-15-foot LED display. A bar area, DJ booth and VIP lounge with elevated finishes and furnishes enhance this area. The Deck is a large rooftop space that offers panoramic views and comfortable seating where people can relax and enjoy the outdoors.

The Design Impact

Combined with SoFi Stadium, the Hollywood Park Cosm provides West Coast visitors with access to two of the world’s most exciting and innovative entertainment venues in one location, while The Colony location will take its place alongside other popular entertainment sites in North Texas such as HKS-designed AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Field. The seamless sharing of the physical and digital experience democratizes access to global events and provides educational and cultural opportunities for communities around Cosm venues.

The Colony, TX
The Colony, TX

Project Features

Hollywood Park, CA
Hollywood Park, CA
Hollywood Park, CA

Chris DeRosa

Clint Nash

Case Studies

D Magazine: Major League Cricket (MLC) is Coming to North Texas!

David Koppes

Eric Alvarado

University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Phase 2

Case Study

University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Phase 2 Expanding with Flexibility

Beachwood, Ohio

The Challenge

University Hospitals has worked with HKS since 2007 and developed a master plan for its Ahuja Medical Center campus with a flexible growth strategy that allows the public and service spines to expand incrementally, from 144 beds up to 600 beds. Phase 1, completed in 2010, included a 375,000-square-foot full-service hospital. However, the emergency department quickly outgrew its space, and there was a need for sports medicine and dedicated men and women’s services and surgical expansion within the community.

In addition, the original master plan called for building growth to expand to the northeast of the site. But that area had become a place of respite for staff and visitors with a retention pond and walking paths. So as planning for Phase 2 began in 2016, the HKS design team adjusted the original master plan from an inpatient focus to also include inpatient and outpatient services and find a new location for the buildings that nearly doubled the size of the campus.

The Design Solution

The design team located the Phase 2 expansion northwest of the site adjacent to the existing hospital in two new buildings. A South Pavilion is purposely located 40 feet from the existing hospital to create a healing garden and staff respite space, which also allowed the existing hospital windows to remain and the new South Pavilion to have windows as well. The programs include a new expanded emergency, surgery with central sterile processing, materials handling expansion, mother-baby and NICU services and breast health, and a second free-standing building to house a one-of-a-kind Sports Medicine Institute, totaling more than 300,000 square feet. This expansion includes services that promote same-day care, which allows patients to use a state-of-the-art Field House for rehabilitation.

The South Pavilion is located next to the existing hospital to allow adjacencies between the existing imaging and surgery departments. The new emergency department, located on the first floor, was upgraded to Level II Trauma and has an expanded capacity for complex cases. And the surgery department on the second floor added eight operating rooms large enough to accommodate current and future technology. The ambulatory surgery suite including pre- and post-op areas are universally designed so they can be used for any procedure type and flex with the timing of the day.

The Steve and Loree Potash Women & Newborn Center on the third floor provides a family-focused home for expectant mothers and newborns. The unit is designed to exceed the highest standards for quality, expert care while meeting the unique needs and delivery preferences of each patient and their family. The experience is like walking into a first-class hotel with a high touch, calming, service-oriented process. A special care nursery/Level 3 NICU and breast center are also located here.

Drusinsky Sports Medicine Institute is a clinical care and treatment destination for athletes of all ages and talent levels. It offers comprehensive orthopedic services including performance training, on-site surgical services, and physical therapy, hydrotherapy as well as education and services to keep them at the top of their game. The prominent design feature is a field house with three-story volume and glazing that contains half a football field, a partial basketball court, batting cages, track and field surfaces, ballet bars and weight training. The sports-centric design is carried throughout the facility to serve as an inspiration for recovering athletes to get back out on the field. The Cutler Center for Men on the third floor showcases a new model of care for men, offering a full range of health care services. It is designed like a men’s lounge overlooking the football field to help motivate men to prioritize their health through prevention and wellness care.

The Design Impact

The expanded Ahuja Medical Center campus allows caregivers to efficiently provide quality health care and enhance the patient experience. The hospital embraces a “community of care” philosophy, promoting the welfare of both patients and staff through improved efficiencies, safety, and medical technology. With ample natural light and materials, the hospital brings the outside in and blends with its natural surroundings.

The environmentally responsible design incorporates wetlands, bio swales and native plants, while taking maximum advantage of passive solar energy. The pavilion and sports medicine complex make access to health care services easier and place a focus on wellness.

Project Features


Dallas Lutheran School

Case Study

Dallas Lutheran School School Design Supports Community Recovery and Student Success

Dallas, Texas

The Challenge

On the evening of October 20th, 2019, Dallas Lutheran School (DLS) was hit by a tornado that ripped through the north Dallas area. Classes were not in session and no one at the school was injured, but the main classroom building sustained significant damage, rendering it unusable. With two buildings boarded up and classes operating out of portable buildings, DLS was at risk of losing significant enrollment. The school quickly moved forward with a cleanup and recovery, under the theme, “Rise up, rebuild, rejoice,” based on Nehemiah 2:20.

The Design Solution

HKS organized visioning sessions with students, faculty, and families to determine what they wanted at the rebuilt school. The excitement generated by those meetings bought the school much-needed time and trust from the concerned parties. Ultimately, the new campus responded to the positive feedback from students’ recent experience using the temporary portable buildings. The engagement process revealed the students liked the outdoor circulation and its impact on their emotional well-being.

The design solution creates a beautiful new front plaza and building elevation to replace the one lost in the tornado. Students enter the school by crossing through the new gate and going through a series of courtyards dedicated to them and their education. The effect is as if the classrooms extend directly to the outside. From all the rooms, the visual connection with nature serves as the protagonist and center of attention. The space that connects the classrooms is not only a functional passage, but also a space for work and play that includes multiple nooks, balconies, and walkways over the outdoor courtyard. The large, covered outdoor area is programmed for learning, food service and collaboration, and is poised to become the heart of the school. When completed, the first phase of the Dallas Lutheran School project will consist of 15 classrooms (including art and science), an administration area and a study center. Standard classrooms, science labs, and the study center are adjacent to one another to support cross-disciplinary interaction. The second phase will host more classrooms (including robotics) and a new auditorium/chapel.

The Design Impact

Through the use of color, materials and the exterior and interior experience, students who walk through the school will become part of the re-emerging campus.  A Study Center, flanked on three sides by floor-to-ceiling glass, is the core of activity, providing students the power to discover learning in their own ways. Different programs and activities are juxtaposed, offering new connections across various levels and inspiring curiosity and a passion for exploring. Students in the study center on the second floor can look down into performances in the learning courtyard and activities in the Zen Garden. The new design has brought a sense of place and hope to the community and created a feeling of cohesiveness out of chaos.

Project Features


Jeremy Kirk

Alamo Colleges District Westside Education & Training Center

Case Study

Alamo Colleges District Westside Education & Training Center Creating a sense of place and uplifting the students' spirits in West San Antonio

San Antonio, TX, USA

The Challenge

For 15 years, the underserved communities of Edgewood and Greater West San Antonio used an aging elementary school to house their education and training school. Alamo Colleges built a program of workforce training and occupational and academic instruction that consistently outperformed expectations, a program that provided hope and a path to education, to improvement and a way to prosper without having to leave the area.

In 2015, voters approved a bond referendum to fund a new building that matched the outsized impact of the program it would be housing. Alamo Colleges’ goal for its Westside Education and Training Center (WETC) was to double the space and provide a new facility to house early college high school training programs, college technical and academic programs, and services for the community.

The Design Solution

Through an authentic stakeholder engagement process, HKS and associate architect Robey Architecture matched institutional objectives with community needs and aspirations, developing a masterplan that created a campus experience and a sense of place.

Centered around the idea of a new dawn, the new WETC campus is organized around a promenade and outdoor community living room. One as a daily reminder of a path to prosperity and the other as a place for building community. Wide sidewalks, deep canopies, and abundant landscaping encourage pedestrian traffic and integrate the campus into the surrounding neighborhood. The promenade splits and organizes the campus from east to west; with the two-story main building inviting visitors, its colorful cladding design acting as a backdrop to their experience on their journey.

Once inside, the connections to green space with visual transparency to the natural environment support student and visitor health and well-being. Fruit-bearing trees and a community garden will be planted and maintained in partnership with the local community to address the lack of local, healthy food options. Over half the total site area will be planted with native grasses and wildflowers.

The one-story lab building runs parallel to the promenade, offering dynamic views into its various lab spaces framed by an outdoor art gallery. Community health and financial counseling programs are bolstered through increased visibility, access, and resources such as private counseling rooms.

The two story building is designed to provide maximum flexibility while the specialized labs are housed in the single-story building for ease of service and height requirements. Creative gathering spaces encourage engagement and cross-collaboration. Design principles and architectural attributes reflect the values of the campus and embody the student culture through carefully crafted materials, celebrating contrasting textures. The intentional color scheme for the façade is an interpretation of the first sunrays on the horizon. Every day that students arrive on campus is a new dawn and an opportunity for them to obtain a better future.

The Design Impact

Beyond enhancing the educational value of the students, the new campus creates social and economic value for the communities it serves. The culture and sense of place rewards the individual and encourages intellectual curiosity, providing opportunity for rich personal experiences. The campus vision is realized in design that incorporates personal and social responsibility, global citizenship, critical thinking, and an innovative approach to the learning continuum. The WETC reestablishes itself as a prominent fixture in the neighborhood and provides a beacon of opportunity and hope.

Project Features


Clark Shellhorse

Case Studies

Michael Lisk

Stories

Case Studies

Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center

Case Study

Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center Accessible Health Care Focused on the Community

Lancaster, PA, USA

The Challenge

One of Penn State Health’s missions is to provide quality health care close to home for the people of central Pennsylvania. Lancaster County is home to a large Amish community as well as a diverse mix of businesses. The residents needed a health campus that is rooted in the local community, that highlighted the culturally important ideas of agrarian heritage, craft and tradition. Penn State Health set out to develop a new campus on former farmland that integrated the latest technologies and showcased its brand while being flexible to adapt to future community needs – and do it quickly.

The Design Solution

Penn State Lancaster Medical Center design draws from two main sources of inspiration: the City of Lancaster, with both modern and historic masonry architecture, and the surrounding farmland. The campus is accessible both by automobile and horse and buggy, with a shaded spot in the parking lot where water is available for horses. The green plaza connecting the hospital, medical office building and dining areas provides a place for respite. A pedestrian path circling the campus offers access to rehabilitated wetlands, which were formerly buried along the back edge of private farmland.

The interiors reflect a clean, modern design that represents the humble agrarian concept. Natural finishes highlighted with nature-inspired graphics and artwork demonstrates its connection to the outdoors. Abundant natural light pours into the multilevel circulation concourse that connects public areas for easy navigation through the hospital.

The project team used lean design and construction principles with an integrated project delivery approach to build quickly and stay within budget constraints. The team made sure to address resiliency, including the infrastructure required for pandemic screening equipment and patient units that can flex into infection control areas if required.

An important component of the hospital is the women’s services department. The LDR rooms feature spa lighting with soothing, acoustically sensitive finishes and large windows overlooking the surrounding farmland. A flexible LDR/postpartum room includes an enlarged family zone to accommodate larger family sizes common to the region. A continuous circulation corridor in the department provides a walking path for mothers in labor.

The Design Impact

From a cornfield to a hospital campus in just 36 months, Penn State Health Lancaster Hospital was delivered two months ahead of schedule and under budget.

The sleek design and optimized spaces helped the hospital recruit high-quality, experienced staff, even though it is in a remote area. Health care workers are eager to serve at this facility, which has created a new culture of patient care and positive outcomes.

Sitting on 27 acres of land, the modest-sized campus has room to grow. Penn State Health envisions doctors’ offices nearby in the future, and the hospital contains a shelled floor for an additional 24 beds.

Project Features


Why Mass Timber Makes Sense – and Saves Dollars

Why Mass Timber Makes Sense – and Saves Dollars

HKS is a firm committed to exploring new building methods and materials, community health, design excellence and sustainability. That’s why we are a major proponent of the advantages of mass timber construction. Even though mass timber buildings represent only a fraction — less than .000189 percent — of the country’s commercial buildings, there are many reasons why this building type is a smart choice.

While some claim mass timber can be as much as 5 percent less expensive than steel and concrete construction, additional cost savings are possible through shorter construction time of prefabricated panels, less labor required for installation and in lower foundation costs due to less structural weight than in the material itself, which can cost as much or slightly more than concrete per square foot.

Mass timber also sequesters CO2 and its manufacture is far less carbon intensive than either concrete or steel. In addition, mass timber has a high strength-to-weight ratio that allows it to perform well during seismic activity, and its fire resistance properties meet or exceed most code requirements.

Mass Timber Buildings Have Health Benefits

There are also considerable health and aesthetic benefits of mass timber construction.

Research shows a link between exposed wood structural elements and greater workplace satisfaction and productivity. Studies also point to a growing body of evidence that natural materials, plants, natural light and access to nature relieve stress, the underlying cause of many forms of physical and mental illness. Variations in color and texture of wood and its tactile qualities can be both healthful and beautiful.

There are also considerable health and aesthetic benefits of mass timber construction.

Health facilities have been wary of mass timber due to the need for infection control. Because mass timber is engineered, its surface is smooth, free from cracks and knots seen in raw wood. It can also be coated creating a surface that can withstand industrial cleaning agents. Unlike other building materials, it also has reduced off-gassing, which translates into better air quality.

HKS Principal Kirk Teske notes the advantages of bundling underfloor air distribution (UFAD) with mass timber.

“Because UFAD doesn’t mix the air in the occupied zones like traditional forced air systems, it’s healthier,” Teske said. “UFAD also allows you to keep the HVAC ducts, electrical conduits, and data cables under the floor leaving the wood structure exposed. Done correctly, you feature the biophilic aspects of the wood structure with only the sprinkler piping and lighting systems remaining as a part of the ceiling structure.”

Considering the post-pandemic state of the commercial office market, Teske believes this combination would provide that sector with a unique niche offering that is especially attractive to corporate users that value environmental sustainability and healthy alternatives for their employees.

The HKS-designed Colorado Research Exchange will feature a 15,960 sf amenity center constructed with mass timber.

The Flexibility of Wood

Our practice spans a multitude of building types from senior living to commercial mixed use, education to hospitality, health to sports and more. Regardless of the building type, our clients are interested in creating spaces that are highly functional, adaptable, affordable and celebrated by users and the community-at-large.

Mass timber products, which come in a variety of sizes and forms, can help fill the bill. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), is a wood panel system that uses wood stacked crosswise at a 90-degree angle and glued into place. Its strength, dimensional stability and rigidity make it suitable for use in mid-and high-rise construction. Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT), is dimensional lumber placed on edge with individual laminations fastened with nails or screws.

Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT), panels are stacked like NLT and friction-fit together with hardwood dowels. Its strength comes from friction of the dowels, so it doesn’t use adhesives, nails or screws making it more sustainable, easier to mill and attractive for exposed structures. Glued-Laminated Timber (Glulam), is a structural engineered wood product commonly used for beams and columns. It allows for long spans of exposed framing as well as curvature.

So, Why Aren’t There More Mass Timber Buildings?

While hailing the energy-saving features of mass timber, some skeptics have expressed concern for deforestation due to wood’s increasing popularity.

“Most of the wood used in mass timber comes from trees that can be sustainably managed through responsible forestry practices,” explained Teske. “With smart design and planning and collaboration with knowledgeable manufacturers and contractors, we can mitigate any possible downside to using wood. A 2014 study stated that using wood as a building-material substitute could save 14%-31% of global CO2 emissions and 12%-19% of global fossil fuel consumption. The positives greatly outweigh any negatives.”

“Most of the wood used in mass timber comes from trees that can be sustainably managed through responsible forestry practices,” explained Teske.

Another reason cited for not using mass timber is that it is not as cost effective as its purported to be. According to Ryan Ganey, HKS Structural Engineer who has worked on several mass timber buildings in the states of Washington and Texas, selecting consultants with experience in mass timber construction can help alleviate cost concerns.

“It’s important to work with a contractor who has had some experience in mass timber to recognize the full benefits,” Ganey said. “Some contractors price mass timber higher because they have not had as much experience with it and they want to cover themselves. But as it becomes more popular, contractors better understand the cost of materials and labor and can price more accurately.”

Another possible reason for not using timber is building codes. But in 2019, the International Code Council (ICC) approved a set of proposals that would allow tall wood buildings as part of the 2021 International Building Code (IBC). If design meets these code requirements, buildings can be built up to 18 stories.

But what about fire safety?

In a fire, heavy timber chars on the outside while retaining strength. That slows combustion and allows occupants to evacuate the building. According to David Barber of Arup, in recent fire testing, a seven-inch wall of CLT lasted three hours and six minutes — one hour longer than code requirements.

A few years ago, the only mass timber manufacturers were in Canada or Europe. Today there are about a dozen scattered across the United States making sourcing easier and further reducing the carbon footprint of the material by eliminating importing and shipping. In addition, mass timber can be beautiful and might make a significant difference in the speed of leasing or sales of commercial, mixed-use and residential space.

As of December 2020, 1,060 commercial mass timber projects had been constructed or were in the design phase across the U.S., according to Woodworks — Wood Products Council. Developers, investors and corporations are embracing the idea that mass timber may give them an edge in the leasing or sale of real estate and in recruiting and retaining top talent. We can’t wait to help them achieve their goals.