Chicago office block set to become US’ largest wooden building

Texas developer Hines is planning to build a six-storey all-timber office block in Goose Island, central Chicago, the city’s first major wooden building since the 19th century.

When complete, the T3 building will offer 270,000 sq ft of office and retail space, making it the largest wooden building in the US. The project still has to be granted approval by the city authorities.

Brian Atkinson, Hines’ managing director, commented: "Users are seeking authentic office environments that enable their culture. They want modern design, efficient operations and environmentally sensitive construction and T3 Goose Island will deliver on all of their expectations."

"T3 will offer an exceptional complement of amenities including common social areas, a shared rooftop deck, private tenant-only balconies on each floor, bike storage and repair, a modern fitness facility with locker rooms, and dynamic ground floor retail." 

Houston-based Hines recently completed a smaller, 220,000 sq ft wooden office building in Minneapolis, designed by the same team of Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture (MGA) and US-based multinational DLR Group.

Like its Minneapolis project, Hines branding the Chicago example as ‘T3’ which stands for timber, technology, and transit. The developer is also contemplating a similar wooden office structure in Atlanta, Georgia.

MGA has been an advocate of engineered mass-timber as a construction material. Founder Michael Green commented: "It is definitely wood’s moment. But it’s still in its infancy, but what we’ve seen is on a different level. We’ve seen major global design firms who said they had no interest in working in mass wood now working in wood."

Green has argued that cross-laminated timber panels and "glulam" beams could be used to build towers as tall as 30 storeys. Last year, architecture firm Perkins + Will, and structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti published an ambitious design study for an 80-story timber skyscraper along the Chicago River’s South Branch.

Image: A rendering of the Chicago T3 (Hines) 

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