Throughout North America, specifying podium construction is an increasingly popular option for dense, urban areas, particularly when projects require infill scenarios. Limited space and rising costs of land and construction materials, such as concrete and steel, have prompted developers and architects to re-think building design.

A DOUBLE TAKE: WREN Residences | Los Angeles, CA To meet an ambitious 195 units/acre density target, Architect Togawa Smith Martin used an innovative double-podium design supporting five levels of wood-framed structure over two levels of concrete construction. PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Korczyk | ARCHITECT: Togawa Smith Martin

Podium construction allows for greater density and more rentable square footage than garden style apartments, and materials and labor tend to be more cost effective. Choosing to use wood enables the project to reap the potential benefits that inherently arise with a wood project: speed of construction, design flexibility, cost savings, and reduced environmental impact.


1. Develop an understanding of podium construction and design.

2. Discuss the advantages of podium construction and the unique design benefits of
using timber as a primary building material.

3. Examine relevant building code provisions applicable to multi-story podium structures,
including considerations for fire and life safety design.

4. Examine several case studies that feature podium configurations and the challenges,             benefits, and best practices of using this construction typology.


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