Architect Meet Ecologist
A Studio-Based Study of Massive Timber for an Ecological Research Lab
ABSTRACT: This paper describes ongoing design research at Clemson University that explores the intersection between massive timber building systems, as leveraged for an academic facility, and topics of sustainable forestry, forest health, and carbon footprint. At the center is a topical design studio course in which students designed a new laboratory for Clemson’s Baruch Institute for Coastal Ecologies and Forest Science (BICEFS), in Georgetown, South Carolina. Students were challenged to utilize massive timber building systems, including Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), while discovering their structural and environmental benefits, and considering the potential impacts of the associated construction on the sensitive site. Additionally, students were required to examine the embodied energies of these timber systems using BIM and available estimation tools. This aspect was of particular interest to BICEFS, as it dovetails with their own research on carbon sequestration. The paper presents selections from the laboratory proposals as well as the carbon footprint data and related methodologies, all while considering the degree to which such questions can be successfully integrated into the design studio. The paper concludes by outlining research objectives for future phases of the project, including more in-depth LCA studies plus embedded monitoring of structural and envelope performance.
KEYWORDS: massive timber, carbon footprint, forest ecologies
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