Autumn 2019

APA Designers Circle News

Highlights from this Month's e-Newsletter


Mass Timber Has Banks Seeing Green

first united bank invests in first mass timber buildings in Texas, Oklahoma

Rendering of First United Bank branchMass timber is paying dividends in Fredericksburg, Texas, and in Shawnee, Oklahoma, thanks to a forward-thinking client and an architecture firm up for a new challenge. In envisioning two new branch buildings, First United Bank wanted structures that aligned with their sustainability initiative. Gensler architects responded with an innovative design and building materials.

“First United wanted buildings that really showed how they were built and related to their customer base,” according to Gensler project architect Taylor Coleman. “Using mass timber was the best way to accomplish those goals.”

The buildings are the first mass timber structures designed by Gensler. Coleman says the material required more upfront work with the contractor for the drawings. The exacting manufacturing process leaves no room for error. “Whatever you put down is exactly what you’re going to get, so you need to get it right,” Coleman said. “But the extra time we spent at the front end we more than got back during erection.”

He estimates that the build phase was 50% to 60% faster than with concrete or steel. Overall, the projects are expected to be completed 25% faster than they would have been using a different material. “The roof was set on the Fredericksburg branch in a day and a half. The slowest part was repositioning the crane.”

Despite the lack of experienced mass timber tradespeople in the building’s fairly rural locations, assembly was made easier with help from the manufacturers. Gensler and contractor Kendnel Kasper Construction, Inc., recruited local home builders in Texas who had experience adding mass timber elements to area residential construction. International Beams, the manufacturer of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam for the Texas branch, sent an expert to help train those workers on panel installation, and by the third panel, they had it down cold.

Southern yellow pine engineered wood was used in the manufactureIn addition to the use of CLT panels for the roof, the 8,500-square-foot design for the Fredericksburg, Texas, structure includes glulam columns and beams. International Beams suggested southern yellow pine, available locally. “The result is fantastic,” according to Coleman. “The species is native to the area and will be familiar to employees and customers. It’s got this rich color and a real striking contrast in the grain of the wood.”

The Shawnee, Oklahoma, branch is being built with the Douglas-fir glulam supplied by Bell Structural Solutions, a division of ALAMCO Wood Products, with CLT supplied by Nordic Structures. That branch will come in at 12,500 square feet. For that project, Bell Structural Solutions came on site to assist with installation of some CLT and glulam elements. “They did a fantastic job,” Coleman said.

“The design was really driven by the client,” Coleman said. “First United wanted buildings that were designed to last.” Coleman’s plans delivered a net-zero structure with solar panels and a rainwater collection system. He estimates the system on the Fredericksburg, Texas, branch will collect 250 million gallons in runoff annually—enough rainwater to fully satisfy the water needs for the branch’s native plant landscaping. The enhanced building envelope and high-efficiency HVAC systems provide a 42% improvement over code requirements. Also, Gensler estimates 190 tons of CO2 is being offset through the use of sustainably harvested timber. Similar efficiencies are expected with the Shawnee branch, also a net-zero project.

For more information about the projects, including more images, download a PDF copy of the case study GET >

Getting Technical

Webinar: Shear Exhilaration

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
10:00–11:00 am PST

Shear Exhilaration APA's Bob Kuserk, PE, will provide a top-to-bottom overview of lateral design for wood-framed structures with a focus on shear walls. As a result of this training, participants will understand load path continuity and shear wall performance, including design methodologies for shear walls. Examples from post-disaster evaluations will illustrate common failure modes, and methods and outcomes of various designs of wood structural panel shear walls will be compared. Participants will also be introduced to installation considerations that may affect performance and how to address these issues proactively. The force transfer around openings method will be covered as well. AIA and ICC credits are available. REGISTER >

Webinar: Wood as a Sustainable Building Material

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
10:00–11:00 am PST

Presented by Kathryn (Katie) Fernholz of Dovetail Partners, this webinar for architects, engineers and other building design professions will outline what makes wood a green building material and clear up misconceptions on the environmental impacts of harvesting wood. A forester by training, Katie has worked in a wide range of roles and is a dynamic and compelling expert on sustainability and the environment. Her passion for the complexity and beauty of natural ecosystems blends with a pragmatic recognition of the challenges and choices designers face. REGISTER >

Inside the Circle

Ron NuttallMeet Ron Nuttall

Ron Nuttall is an Engineered Wood Specialist based in the Denver area. Ron studied marketing at Texas Tech University before beginning his wood products career working in wholesale distribution in Texas, later relocating to Colorado. Ron has extensive knowledge of the construction and engineered wood industries, having worked in plywood distribution as well as educating builders and designers on the use of I-joists and engineered wood products before joining APA in 2017. Ron continues to support builders with the use of engineered products, including training on fire-resistant assemblies, and a special focus on assisting nonresidential builders with training framing crews on best practices in wood framing for multifamily and other large buildings.

For more information on nonresidential framing, view Frame It Right! Back to Basics for Big Buildings GO >

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