First Hardwood CLT Project in U.S.

In an effort to enhance awareness around using wood as an innovative building material, The United States Forest Service awarded Boston based architectural firm, IKD, $250,000 to fund the construction of the first hardwood cross-laminated timber (CLT) project in the United States.

The Indiana Hardwood CLT Project uses low-grade hardwood to create a high-quality CLT product that will then be used in commercial projects. NHLA is honored to have helped IKD with this project and would like to recognize NHLA board member Dave Bramlage of Cole Hardwoods for helping to secure the necessary materials for this project.

We had the opportunity to speak with Yugon Kim, the lead architect on the project. Throughout August, we will publish different pieces of our conversation with Kim.

NHLA: What is different from this CLT project and other CLT projects that we’ve read about in Europe?

Yugon Kim: We really wanted to utilize Indiana’s timber resource so we proposed the idea of a hardwood cross laminated timber product using 3 common grade lumber. When we looked at the data we found that over 50% of every log goes to low grade materials like pallets and cants. So we proposed upcycling this material into a new hardwood CLT that really isn’t in use here in the United States. In Europe, they use a single source material. They use Tulipwood. Our project is trying to use mixed species simply so that we have a greater pool of timber species to draw from so that is just a larger resource. We’re basically trying to extract as much fiber into the product as possible and to do this our proposal was to use a wider variety of species that have similar structural and mechanical properties and utilize that in a mixed-species assembly.

NHLA: Which species are you using?

Yugon Kim: We are using Oak, Hickory, Maple, Ash and Beech because they have a similar elastic modulus so that we can engineer a panel that can deal with those different types of species but we also have a larger pool of resources to draw from. The panels used in this project are the first ever pressing of a full 40’x10′ mix species hardwood CLT here in the United States.

See the first ever pressing of a full 40’x10′ mix species hardwood CLT here in the United States below: