Bowdoin College: Center for Arctic Studies

A Landmark in Green Construction
In a groundbreaking endeavor, we were central to the mass timber components of Bowdoin College's Barry Mills Hall and the John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies in Brunswick, ME.


A Landmark in Green Construction: The Environmental Triumph of Bowdoin College's Dual Mass Timber Buildings

In a groundbreaking endeavor, we were central to the mass timber components of Bowdoin College’s Barry Mills Hall and the John & Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies in Brunswick, ME. These two distinct structures represent Maine’s first commercial projects to extensively employ mass timber, setting a precedent in the industry.

With a total footprint exceeding 46,000 sq ft, the project included glue-laminated timber beams and columns, cross-laminated timber floor and roof decking, and shear walls, as well as a custom-designed mass timber stair system.

We met the challenge of the buildings’ unique geometric complexities, including multi-pitch roofs, through design assist, supply, and install services. A key aspect was the integration of a 300-person event space situated over an acoustically-sensitive cinema classroom, demanding extra attention to acoustic isolation and transmission details. This project embodied Bowdoin College’s commitment to carbon neutrality, reinforcing the importance of sustainable construction methods in today’s built environment.

To optimize structural efficacy and economy, the south wing’s roof was engineered with custom, asymmetrical glulam trusses complemented by steel tension rods, creating a column-free event space. Long timber lengths and intricate connections were specifically tailored to facilitate more economical shipping and faster on-site assembly.

By expertly marrying design requirements with the use of mass timber, we delivered a high-performance, multi-use academic space that not only met but exceeded all technical and environmental objectives.

did you know?

What is mass timber?

Mass timber refers to a category of engineered wood products that are revolutionizing the construction industry. It involves the use of large, solid wood panels or beams that are made by laminating smaller pieces of lumber together.

Common types of mass timber include Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (Glulam), and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL). These innovative materials offer exceptional strength, durability, and fire resistance. Mass timber components are precision-engineered and prefabricated off-site, resulting in faster construction times and reduced waste.

With its sustainable attributes and aesthetic appeal, mass timber has emerged as a popular alternative to conventional construction materials like concrete and steel, enabling the creation of environmentally friendly and visually striking structures.

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