A rendering of architect Michael Green’s seven-story T3 building.
A model of a 10-story structural-timber building by SHoP Architects.
A virtual look at how cross-laminated timber panels will transform the museum’s Great Hall.

Celebrating Wood

A National Building Museum exhibit extols the wonders of timber

Most trends circle back around—and some actually improve with age. Building with wood is one of those trends.

This fall, the National Building Museum hosts an unconventional exhibit, “Timber City,” that is sure to dispel popular notions about wood construction. Curated and designed by architects Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura of the Boston-based firm ikd, it will showcase recent innovations in timber technology, presenting wood projects and conceptual designs from around the world.

The exhibit highlights the recent boom in domestic and worldwide timber construction, and illustrates how the industry gives manufacturing companies in rural America a needed boost. Two installations—a 63-foot vertical panel in Douglas fir stretching from the ground to the third floor and a horizontal pine-and-spruce panel 40 feet wide—will be the focus of the museum’s Great Hall. Visitors will discover that, aside from its beauty, wood brings unexpected benefits—from strength to fire resistance and sustainability—to projects using present-day building technology.

“Timber City” runs from September 17 through May 21, 2017. It is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and is adapted from an exhibit that ikd designed for the Boston Society of Architects. nbm.org