5 ways mass timber will reshape the design of life sciences facilities

By John Sullivan, Partner and President of Architecture, SGA
Building Design + Construction
January 2, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

John Sullivan

With mass timber’s growing popularity in the built environment, its intersection with the life sciences market offers an untapped potential for sustainable innovation. While this impressive material has emerged as a game-changing solution for projects worldwide … it is still in its infancy when it comes to laboratory and research facilities. In the past, mass timber construction has proved difficult for life sciences development due to technical constraints; however, as illustrated in a new study SGA developed alongside Thornton Tomasetti, Consigli Construction Co., BR+A Consulting Engineers, and Code Red Consultants, there are feasible, cost-effective strategies for building mass timber labs that align with industry standards. Based on our case study, the conceptual project envisions a primary mass timber framing system representing the bulk of the building’s structure; with steel being employed only in limited locations to facilitate vertical infrastructure, support critical mechanical equipment, and provide long-span clearances where needed for loading activities.

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