Laurentian Architecture to showcase cross-laminated timber

A provincial investment of $350,000 through the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) will help to fund the incorporation of cross-laminated timber technology, or CLT, in the construction of Laurentian University’s School of Architecture. The CRIBE grant will allow Laurentian Architecture to showcase the first significant use of cross-laminated timber in a public building in Ontario.

An engineered wood product, CLT is made by gluing and pressing together successive layers of spruce, pine or fir 2x4s or 2x6s to form large solid blocks or sheets that can be precision-trimmed to specific purposes. CLT manufactured products can be used as walls, floors and roof panels in building construction. CLT construction is now being widely used in Europe, and is increasingly seen in taller wooden structures in the United States and in British Columbia.

“The possibilities created by CLT really are exciting from the architectural point of view,” said Laurentian Architecture’s Founding Director, Dr. Terrance Galvin. “This innovation in materials fits perfectly with our focus on green and sustainable building techniques, as well as our commitment to northern and Canadian design.”

“We are thrilled by CRIBE’s support for this forward-looking initiative,” said Laurentian Vice- President, Administration, Carol McAulay. “We wanted Laurentian Architecture to speak to a future generation of designers and architects, and this generous investment will help us realize that vision.”

In making the announcement today, Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci called it a “great boost, not only for Laurentian Architecture, but for Ontario’s forest industry.”

“Our government has and will continue to work to support this important sector. This is good news for the lumber producers and manufacturers across northern Ontario and beyond, as we explore new and innovative techniques to expand the use of wood and value-added wood products,” he added.

CRIBE is a non-profit agency set up by the Ontario government to advance the commercialization of the forest products industry in the province. The CRIBE grant will assist in the purchase of CLT materials, and will also defray the costs for the consultant team including building code experts, to develop strategies to successfully detail and secure approvals for the two-storey section of the new Laurentian School of Architecture, set to open in the fall of 2015.

Current schematic designs by Levitt Goodman Architects show the West Wing of the new structure, comprising the Classroom, Lecture Hall and Library, built with CLT. Much of the 12,000-square-foot structure would be exposed to view, with clear curtain glazing. The result will be “a beautiful use of wood, creating a warm and acoustically tempered environment,” according to the architects.

“We are tremendously excited to be involved with CRIBE and to have the opportunity to showcase CLT in a purpose-built school of architecture,” said lead architect Janna Levitt. “We also hope this demonstration project will stimulate interest in developing local manufacturing of the product.”

CRIBE is the sole funder of the Wood Demonstration Project at Laurentian Architecture. The new School, the first to open in Canada in more than 40 years, has also received significant funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and the organization representing businesses and service providers in downtown Sudbury.

Donations to Laurentian Architecture will be used to support scholarships, bursaries, state-of-the-art computer software, and resources needed for the Community Design/Build projects.

Laurentian University is one of the fastest-growing universities in Canada in the past decade, now serving close to 10,000 students. With its main campus in Sudbury, it now offers a growing number of programs in Barrie to the 1,200 students located on that campus. Laurentian has one of the highest post-graduation employment rates in Ontario and receives high recognition for its enviable class sizes, having one of the lowest average class sizes in Canada.

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