Living Lab at Peavy Hall: Structural Health Performance of Mass Timber Buildings

Project Lead: Mariapaola Riggio

Project duration: 7/1/17 – 6/30/20

Building on the results of an earlier project that established protocols for post-occupancy building monitoring, this project aims to install a system in the new Peavy Hall building at Oregon State University to monitor moisture, relative humidity, vertical and slip movements due to shrinkage and deflection, post-tensioning losses, vibration and seismic activity. The monitoring system will establish a "living" laboratory that demonstrates in real time how the mass timber components of the building are affected by various internal and external phenomena. The data will be gathered and analyzed over the service life of the building. Watch the video!

Sensors will be installed in the building, which makes use of advanced wood products including cross-laminated timber – in order to monitor the building’s hygrothermal conditions, moisture, relative humidity, vertical and slip movements due to shrinkage and deflection and more. The sensors will capture real-time data about the building’s performance and answer questions including: Is wood less durable than concrete or steel? Will CLT floors vibrate more or less than floors made out of traditional materials? How will CLT walls stand up to high winds or seismic activity?

Cross-laminated timber is growing more popular throughout the country, and this benchmark data is needed in order to help structural engineers, designers, architects and contractors better understand how it should be used. With input from stakeholders, Riggio is currently working on formalizing relationships with the technology companies who make the sensors so that they can be optimized for uses in similar projects. “This building will not just be a space that’s occupied,” Riggio says. “Because of this project, it will be a talking building. It will tell the public things about itself and help us understand the science behind it, the design challenges and more."


The Living Lab at Peavy Hall: Structural Health Performance of Mass Timber Buildings (Esther Baas M.S. Civil Engineering, M.S. Wood Science, 2020)

Accessibility and Communication of Structural Health Monitoring Data of Mass Timber Buildings (Morvarid Dilmaghani M.S. Wood Science, 2019) -