As expertise and experience in mass timber continues to flourish across the country, an increasing number of designers are looking at how mass timber and biophilic design could help optimize learning environments. And according to the Mithun report, there is a growing body of research that associates biophilic spaces with student health and cognitive benefits. Combine that with advancements in mass timber technology, and you have a winning combo that can contribute to building better schools, faster.
To further investigate the feasibility of mass timber schools, the Mithun team took an iterative approach driven by an optimized three-ply mass timber structural grid and sectional framework that balances efficient timber fiber volumes with the need for agile spaces. The report’s results demonstrate that mass timber spaces can be cost competitive for schools when compared to a steel-framed baseline—providing warm, well-daylit interiors with exposed mass timber columns, beams, ceilings, and walls that can evoke biophilic responses while significantly reducing embodied carbon impacts.