Tallwood Institute Current Activities


The TallWood Design Institute has commenced development of a first-of-its-kind certificate program on mass timber manufacturing. The program will feature a number of course modules that can be taken by industry learners in the wood products manufacturing and construction sectors. Topics will include: drafting and detailing of mass timber components using 3D computer-aided-design (CAD) software; interfacing between CAD and computer-aided-manufacturing equipment; automated manufacturing using computer numerical control (CNC) production machinery; in-house quality assurance and testing methods, and; jobsite installation and erection of mass timber components. Delivery of the program will be through a combination of online instruction, classroom sessions in partnership with various community colleges, and hands-on design-build experiences in the Institute’s new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. Modules will be available beginning in 2018.


As part of the collaboration between the University of Oregon's Department of Architecture and OSU’s Wood Science and Engineering Department, Dr. Mariapaola Riggio (OSU) and Dr. Nancy Cheng (University of Oregon) have been co-teaching a course entitled “Timber Tectonics in the Digital Age”. The course examines how classic timber structural systems are changing with innovative design, construction and material processes.

Timber Tectonics course students OSU 2017 Timber Tectonics course students at OSU 2017 Timber tectonics course - OSU - model

Working in small groups, the students have been applying their understanding of structural systems and parametric design towards designing a canopy, their major project for the term.  In the first few weeks of classes they created two design iterations, considering architectural form and structural efficiency.  They are now trying to apply lessons from various examples to develop the constructability of the proposals: materials, joints and assembly processes. A blog for the course can be viewed at http://timbertech17.com .

Product Testing and Peer Review

Supported by the US Economic Development Agency, the TallWood Design Institute is carrying out structural testing of mass timber products and engineering peer reviews of tall wood and mass timber building plans to lower barriers to the use of structural wood products and incorporation provisions for such products in local and state building codes. The Institute’s current product testing includes structural testing for the 12-story Framework project and product development testing of Freres Lumber’s new Mass Plywood Panel (MPP).

Outreach for Code Officials

TallWood Design Institute is compiling and summarizing a database of existing US research on mass timber and tall wood construction as an educational tool for building code officials and design professionals. The Institute will work with Oregon BEST and other partners to disseminate this information.

CLT Design Contest

The TallWood Design Institute has partnered with Oregon BEST to fund a CLT Design Contest Award to fast-track the use of CLT as a new green construction material in the U.S. The $155,000 in funding has been awarded to the 4-story Glenwood Parking Structure in Springfield, OR. Research and testing for both projects will be carried out at OSU College of Forestry & College of Engineering structural labs in Corvallis, OR, and at University of Oregon’s Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory, which has locations in both Eugene and Portland. The original parking garage design was a winning project in a student design competition at the University of Oregon.

Affordable Housing

A round table on affordable housing in Oregon was held on March 1st 2017 at University of Oregon's White Stag building in Portland. The event featured a panel of architects, developers, construction professionals and business specialists and explored the broad topic of how mass timber can contribute to fair housing solutions. A white paper is being produced and weill be available shortly.