There was once a time when building structures completely of wood was the standard practice, but that’s no longer the case due to innovative building materials and great advances in technology.
While some wooden structures remain standing even over 100 years after being built, there are all-wood buildings constructed in the last decade that prove that wooden construction is withstanding the test of time. To demonstrate the longevity, adaptability, and sustainability of using wood and wholesale lumber in your construction and landscaping projects, let’s take a tour of the world’s notable wood buildings.
Here are our top picks for the most famous wood buildings you need to know about and visit if you get the chance. Feeling inspired to tackle your own plans? Get in touch or come visit us in person.
Finished in 2018, Carbon 12 is a residential condo building in Portland, OR. that boasts 85 feet of all-wood construction — making it taller than any other residential all-wood buildings in the US. From their website: “Along with the inherent environmental benefits of wood, Carbon12 is better equipped to handle an earthquake or other natural disaster than any other residential building in the country, thanks to its buckling-restrained brace frame core.”
Located in Minneapolis, MN, “Timber, technology, and transit” or T3 for short, was the largest mass timber building in the country upon being completed in 2017. Amazingly enough, all 180,000 square feet of T3 was finished in just under 10 weeks. It now houses a mix of office space, amenities, and retail stores across 7 floors.
Kentucky’s religious destination Ark Encounter is a 5-story structure made of 3.3 million boards of lumber and is reported to be one of the largest wooden-constructed buildings in the world. The recreation of Noah’s ark from the Bible is 500 feet long and built to spec based on notes and dimensions from Biblical texts.
This commercial office building opened officially for business on Earth Day in 2013 in Seattle, WA. It cost $18.5 million to construct this “living building” that is rumored to be the greenest commercial building in the world. Designed to have a lifespan of 250 years, the heavy timber structure produces 30% more energy than it uses thanks to an endless list of sustainable features.
A Michigan icon that was built in 1991, the Superior Dome was known (at the time) as the world’s largest wooden dome consisting of 781 Douglas fir beams and 108.5 miles (174.6 km) of fir decking. It’s on the campus of Northern Michigan University and has been the setting for many school- and community-related events and sports celebrations.
Hangar B is a part of the Tillamook Air Museum and has an impressive footprint of seven acres and a height of 15 stories. It took 2 million board feet of lumber from 50 different local lumber companies to construct, which ended up saving 2,000 tons of steel when it was built during World War II in 1942.
Old Faithful Inn
In majestic Yellowstone National Park sits Old Faithful Inn, first opened in 1904. It’s the largest log hotel in the world and cost $140,00 at the time to complete. Many of the logs that were used for the building of the inn and its subsequent expansions came from within an 8-mile radius surrounding the site in the national park.
The Japanese temple was built in 667 AD and is labeled the world’s oldest surviving wooden-constructed building. Japanese cypress that was 2,000 years old was harvested for the structure — without a sawmill or even a tool that would help split the wood cleanly and evenly. Now the temple acts as a role in the curation of the history of Buddhism in Japan.