Bigger in Texas: First Mass Timber Office Tower Rises in Houston

New building strives to achieve net zero carbon emissions

Sat 06 May 23


A Texas, USA project targets two key milestones next year – Houston’s first mass timber commercial office, the state’s largest city, and a pioneering commercial office building focused on net zero carbon and energy.

Footage courtesy of @buildingdesignconstruction

US-based Building Design + Construction reports that Framework @ Block 10, a six-storey, 18,580 sq metre office building will use heavy timber construction. Heavy timber involves engineered wood products, such as large solid wood panels, columns, or beams, machined with CAD/CAM design and CNC technology.

Hicks Ventures, the developer of the project says that the building’s mass timber will capture carbon, saving over 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing exterior potable municipal water use by 100%, and cutting interior potable municipal water consumption by over 50%.

San Francisco’s Gensler Architects, collaborating with Canadian engineering firm StructureCraft, will design the building featuring dowel-laminated timber (DLT) floor and roof panels, supported by glulam post and beam framing, to highlight the wood’s aesthetic and efficiency.

Framework @ Block 10 is the latest in a growing trend of mass timber office towers. In the past, US broadcaster PBS covered the emergence of engineered wood as a preferred building material in global buildings. Footage courtesy of @PBSNewsHour
Dowel-Laminated Timber: A Versatile Building Solution

DLT is an environmentally friendly mass timber product made by stacking wooden boards and securing them with hardwood dowels through friction.

Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT) allows StructureCraft to provide greater versatility in designing with mass timber. Footage courtesy of @martinmichaelproductions1829

This adhesive-free method offers a customisable material with fire resistance, acoustic performance, and easy installation, suitable for various construction applications. DLT can also be combined with other mass timber products for innovative and visually appealing structures.

The building will feature rainwater harvesting, rooftop solar panels, LED lighting, and a sensory system to reduce energy waste.

Incorporating smart building elements, the design includes a real-time energy use dashboard, indoor air quality, and ventilation sensors, an underfloor air distribution system, tenant control of environment-based responsiveness, 3 m ultra-high-efficiency vision glass panels, 3.5 m ceiling heights, and spacious shared balconies on each level. The building will also have 53,820 sq m of ground-level space.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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