A Holistic Design Approach to a Modular Tall Timber System

Matthias Roik
Research & Development
HALFEN, Cologne

It has been several decades since industry and society have expressed a preference for constructing with a modular-based system; this desire is widening nowadays due to the vast potential of modularization. Applying this to timber has many more limitations in the sense of providing stability, structural load transfer, and fire protection. Here we explain the latest developments, through the experience of designing a conceptual case study of 20-story timber office building.

There are six different types of 400-by-800-cm modules in the building. In the plan of each floor above ground, there are 32 modules arranged around a concrete core, configuring building space with a total number of approximately 600 modules for the entirety of the project (except the ground floor, which is concrete). About 80 percent of the structural material is wood, and 20 percent is concrete, including the foundation, ground-floor columns and slabs and the central core. The building system uses a combination of engineered woods, glue-laminated timber (glulam) for the columns and beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) for the floors. Fire safety would be achieved by encapsulating timber elements in composite panels combined of ACM_SW (aluminum composite material + stone wool) material. A Rhino 3D architectural model, as well as analysis results extracted from the structural software ETABS and RFEM prove the adaptability of the proposed modular timber system for a 20-story building structure.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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