In a U.S. First, Hines Plans Tall Wood-Frame Building for Minneapolis

Hines Interests, one of the world’s largest real estate organizations with offices in 18 countries, recently revealed plans to develop a speculative office building in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood, the Star Tribune reports.

T3 Office Building

A project planned by Hines for Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood will be the first commercial property in the United States to use engineered wood for both its structure and interior, the Star Tribune reports. The developer has dubbed the 210,000-square-foot, seven-story office building T3 to reflect the key elements of timber, transit, and technology.

Located at 316 Third Ave. North, the building’s future site is one block away from Target Field and adjacent to two other Hines-owned properties, the Dock Street Flats and Union Plaza. Hines plans to break ground on T3 in spring 2015, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Vancouver, British Columbia-based Michael Green Architecture is designing the building, which is slated for completion in summer 2016. Michael Green’s 2013 TED Talk in California is credited with helping spark new interest in developing wooden buildings.

According to the Star Tribune, T3 will embrace the style of historic brick warehouse district buildings, while providing modern technology and such amenities as a shared rooftop deck, fitness center, underground parking garage, and a bike repair and storage facility.

T3 façade

The building’s exterior will be clad in corrugated weathering steel, which will change color as the building ages and is exposed to the elements. Hines also plans to incorporate about 15,000 square feet of retail space on the building’s first floor.

Green contends that wooden skyscrapers are the future of modern architecture. Although the danger of fire has always been the main obstacle to developing tall wood-frame buildings, proponents say that new strategies alleviate that concern. According to The Guardian, today’s engineered timber is extremely dense and encased in a protective charring layer that burns predictably, unlike steel, which deforms when exposed to extreme heat.

Renderings courtesy of Hines Interests via the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

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