Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH New York Hosts Tall Timber Event
June 22, 2017

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NEW YORK CITY – CTBUH New York, in assocation with the New York YPC, held an event on June 22nd, comprising a presentation and subsequent panel to discuss the character and behavior of tall timber buildings, as well as the future opportunities for building with timber-based systems in New York and beyond.

The first speaker was Jeff Spiritos, Principal at Spiritos Properties, a commercial and residential development organization that focuses on ground-up projects in New York and surrounding markets. The firm was the developer leader of the 475 West 18th Street project, the East Coast winner of the US Tall Wood Building Competition. Currently, the firm is immersed in the effort to produce timber commercial and residential buildings for large global cities.

Following Spiritos was Tanya Luthi, Professional Engineer and Senior Associate, Fast + Epp, an engineering firm known for innovative and architecturally expressive wood structures. Fast + Epp recently designed the
TallWood House at Brock Commons student residence at the University of British Columbia, an 18-story mass timber structure.

The audience finds their seats for the tall timber event.
The group then heard from Amir Shahrokhi, Project Director, SHoP Architects, who also worked on 475 West 18th.

Scott Francisco, Founder of Wood at Work and Director of Pilot Projects Design Collective, spoke next. Francisco is a designer, strategist and cultural theorist who focuses on the interdependence of infrastructure and culture in architecture, organizations, and urban and natural landscapes.

Michelle Roelofs, Senior Engineer, Arup, welcomes the attendees and introduces the speakers.
The final speaker was John Barrot, Project Engineer and Associate Principal, Arup, leader of the firm’s fire/life safety practice in New York. He has been directly involved in three mass timber projects, including 475 West 18th Street. Barrot continues to work with New York City agencies to educate them on the latest fire-testing and code development for mass-timber tall buildings. Barrot also serves on the board of directors for the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) New York, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Fire Protection Code Committee, and is a guest lecturer for the graduate architecture program at Parsons School of Design.

During these expert talks, the group learned how tall timber structural systems are being made increasingly practical through mass timber, a relatively new innovation popular in Europe and Canada. As timber captures and sequesters carbon during the tree growth phase, it is both a renewable source of materials and a sustainable method of construction.

The speakers include (from the left): moderator Michelle Roelofs, Senior Engineer, Arup; Scott Francisco, Founder of Wood at Work and Director of Pilot Projects Design Collective; Amir Shahrokhi, Project Director, SHoP Architects; Tanya Luthi, Professional Engineer and Senior Associate, Fast + Epp; John Barrot, Project Engineer and Associate Principal, Arup; Jeff Spiritos, Principal, Spiritos Properties.
The panel went on to discuss the multitude of benefits that come from working with wood, namely how the material is strong in tension, thermally efficient, ductile and, importantly, inherently fire resistant. These qualities, paired with CNC production capability, allow for precise prefabrication, speedy erection and the reduction of building waste.

The evening ended with an examination of one of the first tall buildings to use contemporary mass timber technology, the 9-story
Stadthaus in Hackney, London, which was completed in 2009. Looking to the future, the panel discussed the 24-story building currently underway in Vienna, and evaluated the potential pitfalls of the project.
Attendees network after the event.
Jeffrey Hong ARO
Yi Chen Arup
Alexandra Kiss BKSK Architects
Niccolo Baldi C+C
Elif Unsal Columbia GSAPP
Mauro Garcia-Oliva Freelance
Bridget Hagan Gilbane
Louise Chatelain GMS
Enrique Corres GNA
Keojin Jin Harvard
Kevin Dunleavy Kevin Dunleavy
Max Gideonse Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Samuel Ng Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Andrew Polimeni Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Gary Dearborn New York Restoration Project
Zack Moreland Shigeru Ban Architects
Xin Xia SOM
Hao Chen Thornton Tomasetti
Geoff Morrissey Turner
Gustav Fagerstrom Walter P Moore
Jianing Song Walter P Moore
Andrew Aumiller
Marina Bajic
Addie Banks
John Barrot
Phillip Bellis
Giuliana Benedicty
Bruno Boral
Sam Boyko
David Brown
Michael Cascio
Brent Chancellor
John Curtis
Michael Deane
Patrick Delahoy
Tahir Demircioglu
Simon Eisinger
Peter Fetzer
Jason Fiore
Scott Francisco
Ken Hubbard
Matthew Lawton
Isabel Lorenzo
Ashleigh Low
Tanya Luthi
Philip Lynn
Matthew Mahon
David Malott
Harry Marte
Adam Paiva
Benjamin Palagonia
Anthony Piderit
Jerome Pitance
Nadine Post
Franz Prinsloo
Vaidas Razgaitis
Valerie Resnick
Salma Saadat
Amir Shahrokhi
Simon Shim
Jeff Spiritos
Nickolaus Sundholm
Alvin Tabar
Greg Thomas
Diana Zakem