Work could begin next summer on one of the more unique structures in recent Denver construction history: a 12-story building nearly entirely made of timber.
The project, called “Return to Form,” will go up at 3495 Wynkoop Street in the city’s River North Arts District and will be mostly composed of a series of wood panels glued and laminated together.
As designed by the architectural firm of Tres Birds and developed by Katz Development, both based in Denver, the building will house 84 residential units, varying in size between studios and two bedrooms, with ground floor space made up of a lobby, co-working space, a gym, and café.
Only a small component of the structure, confined to its foundation, stairwell, and elevator core, will be built with cement.
The project is receiving national attention due to its use of timber, which in this case is Douglas fir from the Pacific Northwest.
In a profile of the proposed structure, the publication ArchDaily noted that the “interest in mass timber construction is growing as a sustainable alternative to concrete despite the limitations imposed by some local building codes.”
The website Vox has observed the same trend, remarking that wood is scoring points with designers and builders for two alluring reasons: its “architectural qualities, and potential to help decarbonize the building sector.”
The Return to Form project earlier this year won the 2022 Mass Timber Competition during an American Institute of Architecture conference held in Chicago.
By Garry Boulard
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