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CLT begins to shape Laurentian U architecture school

DCN News Service
CLT begins to shape Laurentian U architecture school

SUDBURY, ONT.—A two-storey structure built with cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam wood products is taking shape at the Laurentian University School of Architecture under construction in downtown Sudbury, Ont.

The CLT structure is part of the 54,000-square-foot Phase Two facility of the new school, and it represents the most significant use of CLT in a public building in Ontario to date.

"The assembly of the nine-metre tall CLT panels creates an impressive profile for Laurentian Architecture," said Dr. Terrance Galvin, founding director of the School of Architecture, in a statement. "The CLT structure is innovative, beautiful, and sustainable, and reflects the School’s focus on northern design."

Officials of Laurentian University and its School of Architecture recently welcomed guests, including representatives of the Centre for Research in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE), a funder of the CLT demonstration project, and representatives of Wood WORKS!, a program of the Canadian Wood Council, for a site visit.

"This building represents a significant leap in the evolution of educational buildings and clearly demonstrates what can be achieved with CLT," said Marianne Bérubé, Ontario Wood WORKS! executive director.

"This will be an interactive learning environment where the wood structure itself embodies the innovative and sustainable design concepts being learned by Laurentian’s architecture students."

The use of wood instead of other construction materials in the Laurentian Architecture project affords an important environmental benefit, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 150 metric tons, as compared with a conventional building, according to a carbon calculation prepared by Ontario Wood WORKS!.

"Wood was a staple material of Canada’s past, and now we are seeing it as the building material of the future," said architect David Warne, of LGA Architectural Partners.

"It’s strong, it’s renewable, and it is emblematic of northern industry and sustainable design."

There has been growing interest in the use of timber products like CLT, which is sometimes described as ‘the new concrete’ because of its strength and versatility.  Changes to the Ontario Building Code are expected to promote the construction of more and taller buildings incorporating CLT and other wood products.

Phase Two of the Laurentian Architecture project will comprise both the West Wing and a North Wing, a steel-framed structure with mezzanines above the second floor.  The two new wings will house classrooms and studio space, a lecture theatre, lounges and office areas, while creating an inner courtyard and a public walkway.

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