Mixing Buddhism with Timber
Arch 502: CLT: material culture | A design investigation into the material culture of emergence of a new building technology: the cross-laminated timber panel
This studio is about dichotomies united by a slab of wood. The slab of wood is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) , basically panels of 2x lumber glued up in alternating directions that can be up 10’ x 40’. A key aspect of this super-sized plywood is that it is structural and could replace concrete and steel in taller structures. This is important because wood takes less energy to manufacture and stores carbon in the process of growing so its climate impact is much less than the traditional building systems for larger buildings. Susan Jones, FAIA is encouraging us to explore practical and technical considerations of CLT while also pushing its poetic possibilities.
The program for the studio is a Buddhist Retreat Center is the urban core of Seattle. The Center incorporates a Temple and Meditation Hall with short-term housing and dining hall – sacred contemplative spaces with everyday needs and processes. In crafting our responses we have struggled with creating beautiful inspiration spaces with efficient everyday spaces through what is basically a flat panel construction system. Of course this struggle is the whole point of the studio.
Another dichotomy is the two sites from which each of choose to locate the center. One is a block from Pioneer Square on First Avenue. The other is on top of the hill leading to Kobe Terrace Park on Seventh Avenue and overlooks the International District and is bordered by I-5. These are two very different site conditions that are eliciting different strategies, but again united by the use of CLT as a construction system and material.
Below are preliminary renderings of some of the sacred spaces. These were requested by Susan after mid review to help us start to occupy the spaces and begin the process of communicating our evocative and emotional intent.
Written by Michael Gilbride, MArch Candidate