Seattle mass timber tower

Joshua Ramus
Founding Principal
REX Architecture, New York City


This abstract is based on a study done by CalisonRTKL that examined the feasibility of constructing a mass timber high rise tower in downtown Seattle. Now with the recently approved IBC 2021 tall wood building code in Washington state, it is time to explore the possibilists of going above and beyond the existing codes, structural design and general conception of mass timber.
Our team studied 2 options - a 420ft tall, 40 story tower and a 1,000ft tall tower. We found that by using a hybrid structural system including concrete cores and shear walls, steel columns, and mass timber beams and floors, a cost competitive, sustainable tower could be constructed at either height that retained the carbon benefits of timber construction while meeting requirements exiting and life safety, reducing construction time, and increasing quality control and durability through greater use of prefabricated components. This presentation will describe the proposed construction
systems for each tower height and expand upon the benefits of mas timber described above.
The presentation will also discuss the life cycle analysis of a hybrid mass timber construction system, the carbon sequestration benefits of timber, the carbon consumption of steel and concrete, and the resulting carbon performance of a hybrid system.
Overall, using mass timber in high rise construction would position any city in comparable global stature in terms of sustainability and affordability in the future.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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