Customer Project: John W. Olver Design Building University of Massachusetts, USA

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In September 2017, the Design Building at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst was completed. The $52 million project is one of the largest timber structures in the USA and one of the largest wood-concrete composite projects in the world.

The four‑story 8,129 m² academic facility houses three departments in the built environment at UMass Amherst including offices, design studios, lecture theaters, and laboratories.

The building is largely exposed and consists of 5 ply CLT concrete composite floor panels supported by a glulam post and beam structure.

The engineers of Equilibrium Consulting Inc. modelled and analysed two main building components utilizing RFEM including the ‘zipper trusses’ with adjacent steel trusses as well as the timber-concrete composite section trusses. Each zipper truss converges four timber struts and four varying diameter steel bars at a single point to transfer the load back to the upper glulam beams.

Investor: University of Massachusetts Building Authority, MA, USA |

Architect: Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects, MA, USA |

Structural Analysis: Equilibrium Consulting Inc., BC, Canada |

Photos and model: © by Alex Schreyer / UMass © by Equilibrium Consulting Inc.


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  • Updated 04/03/2020

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