How Mass Timber Is Reshaping Civic Buildings From Procurement To Completion

With a cantilevered second floor that hangs above the entrance and immense wood beams that stretch 91 feet across the ceiling of its indoor gymnasium, the Hidden Creek Community Center hardly looks like an average public building. But its sleek design is part of a growing trend. It is one of two new civic buildings in Hillsboro, Oregon, built with mass timber.

While traditional construction relies on steel and concrete, mass timber construction uses prefabricated beams made of layered wood, which are lighter and stronger than steel.

Mass timber has become a trusted material for offices and residences, but many of the most notable mass timber buildings have been led by the public sector. The advantages of mass timber as a material are especially significant for civic construction: a shorter construction timeline, predictable costs, a smaller carbon footprint and the ability to create beautiful indoor spaces that reflect the natural landscape outside.