Tag Archives: building technology

Ascent Tower the World’s Tallest Timber Building

CTBUH certifies Ascent as World’s Tallest Mass Timber Building
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has officially declared the recently-opened Ascent tower by Korb + Associates Architects the world’s tallest timber-concrete hybrid building. The 25-story, 86.6-meter (284-foot) structure in Milwaukee takes the distinguished title in two of the mass timber categories: It is both the tallest timber building overall and the tallest concrete-timber hybrid building.

The previous world’s tallest timber building was Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway, certified by CTBUH in 2019, which stands at roughly 280 feet. Previously holding the record of tallest concrete-timber hybrid building was the approximately 276-foot HoHo building in Vienna, Austria.

The building features 259 luxury apartments, retail space, an elevated pool with operable window walls, and a sky-deck.

In May of 2019, Ascent was named a recipient of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant awarded through the Forest Service’s Wood Innovations Grant program. The federal grant assisted with the testing needed to prove mass timber’s ability to perform as well as traditional building materials like concrete and steel to meet U.S. building codes.

Plans for the project were unveiled in 2018.While the initial design included 21 floors,updates and subsequent approvals brought the total to 25 floors in March of 2020.

The project had been presented at the 2018 international CTBUH conference in Dubai, the 2019 international CTBUH conference in Chicago, and the 2019 International Mass Timber conference in Portland.

The Ascent development was constructed using a digital twin model, allowing for materials, such as beams, columns, and panels, to arrive on site ready to use with holes pre-drilled to within 1/16-inch accuracy. According to CTBUH, it is estimated that using mass timber for the project decreased construction time by approximately 25 percent compared to a conventional, similarly-sized concrete building.

Skyscrapers Made of Wood

Construction is a major carbon dioxide emitter, with eight percent of global emissions traceable to the cement industry and another eight percent coming from steel production. Engineers and entrepreneurs are testing out new ways of building things—in terms of both methodology and materials—to make construction more eco-friendly, not to mention cut its costs and provide better spaces for people to work and live in. 3D printed houses are one trend that’s been on the rise for a couple years. Now it seems an equally innovative trend is developing: high-rise buildings made of wood. Continue reading

Building Location, Fire-Rated Construction, and You

Everyone wants to make the most out of their property. Maximizing your open space is the most common approach, and locating your buildings (including accessory structures) as close as possible to your property line is one way to increase the open space between – and thus maximize the usable square footage of – those buildings. However this can come at one fairly big price: fire resistant requirements. This post will explain what has to be fireproofed, what that means, and what that means to you. Continue reading

Slab-on-Grade vs. Crawl Space: Which Foundation System is Best?

Is it better to have a crawlspace or slab-on-grade foundation system? This is a common question among those planning to build or add onto their house. A crawlspace continues to be the more common type of foundation, but slab foundations are becoming increasingly popular. While there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of foundation, the choice ultimately comes down to a combination of personal preference, costs/benefits analysis, short-term vs. long-term advantages, and site-specific conditions accruing to where the new addition or custom home is being built. Continue reading this crawlspace vs. slab comparison to learn which one will best suit your needs. Continue reading

All You Need to Know About Rainscreens

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Stopping the rain that gets past the siding. In most cases, the investment in a rainscreen siding installation pays dividends in paint longevity and siding durability.

To lower the risk of wall rot, it’s increasingly seen as sensible to provide a ventilated air gap between the siding material (also known as cladding) and the structural sheathing. As rainscreens become more common, mainstream builders are more often being compelled to ask, “What is a rainscreen? How do I know if I need one?”. This article discusses the most common questions about rainscreen gaps between the siding and sheathing. Continue reading

Wood Flooring 101: Types of Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is a long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable interior floor covering. According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) in a national survey of real estate agents, 90% said that houses with wood flooring sell faster and for higher prices than houses without wood floors. That being the case, who wouldn’t want a wood floor? Prior to racing out and purchasing wood flooring, we need to understand what is available and keep in mind that all wood floors are not created equal. Continue reading

Transparent Wood Could Be the Window of the Future

Transparent wood composites are novel wood materials which have up to 90% transparency. Some have better mechanical properties than wood itself. They were made for the first time in 1992. These materials are significantly more biodegradable than glass and plastics. Transparent wood is also shatterproof. Continue reading

A Simple Guide to Attic Ventilation

Spending time pondering your roof ventilation system is likely something that you haven’t done. Most homeowners probably haven’t thought about their roof ventilation at all. But when the time comes that you start thinking about it, you’ll want to ensure that it’s properly taken care of and working well. Your roof’s ventilation is essential for the health of your home. Continue reading

All About Window Materials

New windows can make a dramatic difference in any home, whether you want to improve its appearance, open up a spectacular view or simply replace worn units that seem to let in more wind and rain than they keep out. Modern window frames cut air infiltration down to almost zero and, when used with advanced glazings, can slash up to 40 percent off your heating and cooling bills. Some windows also free you from periodic painting. Still others rival fine cabinetry in eye appeal. Continue reading

Solar Glass: Turning Any Window into an Energy Generating Panel

Photo-voltaic modules (otherwise known as solar panels) have been around for a while, allowing us to use sunlight as a source of energy. The issue with solar panels is that they need sufficient space on rooftops or on the ground to produce enough energy for them to be worth it, space that is limited in big cities. In recent years, companies have been working on a solution to this problem: solar glass (often referred to as “solar windows”), which can turn windows into power-generating panels. Continue reading