Although only four stories tall, Albina Yard, a spec office building, stands out among its one- and two-story neighbors in the scrappy residential and commercial district in north Portland, Oregon. Looking up from the street through the horizontal bands of the glass facade, the ceilings of each level—planes of warm Douglas fir—are visible. These elements are not just finish material but the building’s exposed floor plate.

Disappearing Act: Specially engineered and fabricated steel brackets (bottom) connect the columns, beams, and floor plates. These are mostly buried within the wood components and are hardly visible on the building’s interior (top). Diagram: LEVER Architecture

Designed by Portland’s LEVER Architecture, Albina Yard, completed in 2016, is one of a handful of buildings in the U.S. constructed using a mass-timber structural system.

Learning Objectives – After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Define the term “mass timber” and explain what distinguishes it from other types of wood construction.
  2. Describe the fire-resistive and structural properties of mass timber.
  3. Outline the environmental attributes of mass-timber construction.
  4. Describe a lateral load-resisting system

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