The Weird, Wooden Future of Skyscrapers

The first thing you notice when you walk into the office of Lever Architecture, in Portland, Oregon, is the smell: fresh, sweet, and vaguely Christmassy. That’s because Albina Yard, the year-old building that houses the office, was built out of fragrant Douglas fir. “It’s a space people immediately respond to on an emotional level,” says Thomas Robinson [1], Lever’s founder and the building’s architect.

Robinson is a pioneer in designing tall buildings that use wood, not concrete or steel, to bear their weight. Albina Yard is only four stories, but it’s the prelude to a more ambitious project: Framework [2], a 12-story mixed-use tower that will soon rise in Portland’s Pearl District. When it’s finished (likely in 2019), it will be the country’s tallest human-occupied all-wooden structure. read more >>