The $24.5 million Minneapolis project successfully fuses mass timber construction with buzz-worthy beauty and amenities. The big surprise? How code-compliant and mainstream the breakthrough project is.
Often lost in the public fanfare is the fact the seven-story, 220,000 square foot Class A office and retail center “is not pushing any boundaries.”
That observation may be the project’s great lesson says project lead Candice Nichol, AIBC, NCARB of Vancouver-based MGA | Michael Green Architecture. Her firm designed T3 (short for timber, transit, technology) in partnership with the DLR Group of Minneapolis.
Past as Prologue
“What makes T3 special is the way it’s getting the industry to think about building with mass timber again,” Nichol explains. “T3 is an incredibly beautiful building that’s also economical and responsible.”
International real estate developer Hines is the owner . Located in the booming North Loop neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis, T3 “puts a modern spin on an old idea” says Hines.
A great example of that “old idea” is just a few blocks from T3: Butler Square is a 367,717 square foot, nine-story brick and heavy timber building built in 1906 and substantially renovated in 1974.
“T3 shows what a new generation of office buildings can look like,” says Nichol. “We’re not used to seeing buildings like this because we’ve gotten away from mass timber construction. The fact is, we didn’t do anything outside of code. T3 is a Type IV building. It’s a concrete podium topped by six floors of mass timber. There was no need for alternative means and methods.”
Code compliance wasn’t the only advantage. Construction speed was another. T3 was completed in just 2.5 months and the timber structure completed in just 9 weeks. “We finished a floor about every nine days,” Nichol reports. That work was comparatively quiet too, without the collateral noise associated with other building materials. Lucas Epp, Engineering & 3D Manager, StructureCraft.
Mass timber structures are lighter than both the steel equivalent and post-tensioned concrete. So the project benefits from a smaller foundation requirement and lower seismic loads.
For owner/developer Hines, T3 has proven to be a critical differentiator in a hot market. Wood’s natural warmth and beauty offers leasing agents a competitive edge. Coupled with T3’s leading-edge technology, LEED Gold certification, and extensive workplace amenities, T3’s leasing story is a powerful one for Millennial, tech-focused tenants (Amazon is T3’s lead tenant, occupying two floors).
“I know some people have been shocked by the scale and composition of T3,” Nichol says. “They shouldn’t be. We’re not doing anything that hasn’t been done before.
“T3 helps everyone get comfortable with mass timber again. It’s inviting. It’s sustainable. A mixed-use building like T3 makes so much sense for the owner in terms of construction speed, labor, budget, and result. T3 is a very mainstream project.” T3 is a successful example of a mass timber structure which is cost-competitive with steel and concrete. With this success, we are continuing to see incredible interest across the US in reviving mass timber as a primary building material.
As an endorsement, Hines recently announced plans to build T3’s twin in downtown Atlanta.
For more information go here: http://www.rethinkwood.com/