This project was the result of a collaboration between the City of Springfield, Oregon and the University of Oregon Department of Architecture. Springfield had been planning a new mixed-use urban development in the Glenwood neighborhood as a public-private partnership and, as part of the infrastructure, the city is contributing a parking structure. Given the long history of timber manufacturing as central to the city’s economy and the interest in Oregon in renewing the timber economy with advanced timber products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), Mayor Christine Lundberg thought that the new parking structure should be a signature demonstration project constructed of mass timber. Due to the UO Department of Architecture’s expertise in sustainable mass timber design, in January 2015, Springfield City Manager Jeffrey Towery and Economic Development staff member Courtney Greisel contracted with the Department to explore the possibility of making this idea a reality in a faculty-led design studio in Spring 2015.
Professor Judith Sheine and then Assistant Professor Mark Donofrio (now Associate Professor) realized that this project would be a challenge. There were very limited examples of existing mass timber parking structures and none in seismic zones. The contract with Springfield allowed for expert consultants to help with the studio: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Professor of Civil Engineering Mikhail Gershfeld provided critical assistance with bringing new mass timber lateral-force resisting systems to the studio; architect Samir Mokashi of Codes Unlimited assisted us with understanding how mass timber was understood in the current building code and the soon to be adopted ICC 2015; Oregon State University Associate Professor of Wood Science and Engineering Lech Muszynski gave us insight into CLT manufacturing; and Valerie Johnson and John Redfield of DR Johnson in Riddle, Oregon, gave us access to their new CLT production facilities and insights into the new product.