Concrete, timber system for mid- to high-rise buildings set for GreenBuild premier

Sources: CREE GmbH, Dornbirn, Austria; CP staff

CREE has opened a U.S. office to parlay its LifeCycle Tower (LCT) system, a concrete slab and wood post hybrid design suited to buildings up to 30 stories high. CREE Buildings is based in San Francisco, site of the November 14–15 GreenBuild 2012, where the concept will make its domestic debut.

The LCT uses prefabricated components manufactured to an architect’s specifications. Wall facades are made from glue-laminate posts, while the hybrid floor slabs are constructed of similar members and concrete slabs—interconnected by preset pins and holes. While components are fabricated off-site, the foundation is laid and structural elevator shaft core erected. Built of concrete, steel or wood, the core stiffens the building and provides a frame from which walls and floors bear.

The LCT reportedly lends itself to one story per day erection. By combining engineered timber and concrete, it reduces the volume of the latter material, netting what CREE engineers contend is a lighter structure with reduced foundation requirements when compared to a conventional reinforced concrete or concrete and steel alternative. CREE GmbH has used the system for its eight-story headquarters, along with another project in Austria, and cites several North American proposals in the works.

“We are surrounded by the cleantech and sustainable ecosystems, as well as some of the finest architecture firms in the country,” says CREE Buildings CEO Michael Zangerl, in reference to the company’s new San Francisco base. “Tall wood buildings are the future of sustainable urban development. We are excited to provide cities with this cutting edge design expertise and local timber industries with new markets.”  —