Skip to main content

As cities seek to reduce carbon impact, one of humanity’s oldest construction materials is emerging as a promising solution to the sustainability challenges that modern construction presents. With breakthroughs in engineering and manufacturing, “mass timber” has become a fresh way of using sustainably sourced wood to build structures with breathtaking design while enriching life in urban settings.

REFRAMED: The Future of Cities in Wood told the story of building with mass timber and features architectural models of mass timber projects from around the world, from public spaces to office buildings and adaptive reuse to new construction.

This exhibition explored the many positive aspects of building with mass timber, including sustainability and safety. It also reflected on biophilia, the human instinct to seek connections with nature. Biophilic design centered around the use of wood creates aesthetically pleasing environments and has been proven to promote well-being and positive mental health benefits among occupants.

REFRAMED also offered the hands-on opportunity to experience wood through a learning pavilion constructed from mass timber, as well as a striking visual demonstration of the superior ability of mass timber to withstand fire.

REFRAMED was on view April 25, 2023 through January 7, 2024.

REFRAMED was co-curated by the Chicago Architecture Center and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and presented by the Softwood Lumber Board. The exhibition was made possible by generous support from primary sponsors Gensler, Moelven, Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen Architects, and Perkins&Will and additional sponsors 3XN, Arup, Enlightened Technologies, HPA, KPF, Mercer, Rothoblaas, SOM, Studio Gang, StructureCraft, and UL Solutions.

Talking Timber Interviews