Demonstrating the Safety & Superior Performance of Mass Timber
In Ikaruga, Japan, stands the world’s oldest surviving wood structure, Horyuji Temple, a vital piece of world history, and a testament to the incredible endurance—and beauty—of wood structures. Horyuji Temple’s magnificent tiers, entasis columns, and cloud-shaped brackets were built from 2,000-year-old cypress in 607 A.D.
This ancient pagoda is one of several ancient heavy timber monuments throughout the world that highlight the potential of modern mass timber structures. Mass timber continues to build steam as a viable option for large commercial buildings, thanks in part to vital code changes, like revisions to the Tall Wood Building Code in late 2018, and ever-impressive modern mass timber builds, like Mjøstårnet, a 280-foot-tall tower in Norway constructed entirely out of cross-laminated timber.
Mass timber was first commercialized in Austria and Germany in the early 2000s and has been instrumental in changing how regions of the world design, build, and manufacture commercial buildings. North America is in the early stages of a mass timber construction boom, driven by increasing demand and expanded building code acceptance of mass timber structures.
On the forefront of this early adoption in North America is Katerra. For the last three years, Katerra has helped to drive growth of the mass timber market in the North America, working to counter misconceptions and demonstrate the performance of mass timber by developing and testing the composite engineered wood product—cross-laminated timber (CLT). Katerra CLT is a prefabricated, engineered solid wood building material composed of Katerra-specified lumber, or laminations, stacked crosswise at 90-degree angles in multiple layers (plies) and bonded together under high pressure using structural adhesives.
In 2019, Katerra opened its first CLT manufacturing facility, the largest in North America, in Spokane Valley, WA. Later that year, Katerra’s CLT factory reached a major milestone and produced its first certified CLT panel. That panel was delivered for project use on the Catalyst Building in Spokane, WA, a 150,000 square foot office building, and the first building of its kind to be constructed with CLT in the state. Katerra put over two years of focused effort into the development of its product and manufacturing process and underwent substantial independent laboratory testing to ensure Katerra CLT met the requirements of the International Building Code in the US and the Canadian Building Code in Canada.