In the sea of concrete and granite that people have come to expect from buildings in Washington, D.C., a new structure showcasing wood stands out from the crowd.
When Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater reopened in 2010, it was the first modern structure of its size to use heavy timber components in the United States capital. It was also the first project in the U.S. to use a hybrid wood and glass enclosure to envelop two existing structures.
Although the timber-backed glass façade supporting the steel roof was a complex design, the decision to use wood was an easy one. “Like most arts projects, especially non-profits like Arena Stage, budget was very tight,” said Michael Heeney, principal and executive director for Bing Thom Architects (BTA) of Vancouver, B.C.
“We didn’t have money for finishes, so the structure had to be beautiful, and wood made perfect sense. In the end, wood ended up doing triple duty. We used it to hold up the roof; we also used it to hold up the glass. And, it also provided the final finish for the space. Wood is very cost effective when used in this way.”
Read the Case Study