Sunday, October 30, 2016


 Balliol College Dining Hall, Oxford (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Bill Kleinsasser wanted to outline a theory base for architecture that would help make the built environment better. He knew design is an integrative act of great complexity, requiring the development of an appropriate organizational structure unique to every new project. In many respects, his incessant rewriting and editing of his self-published textbook Synthesis served as an apt metaphor for this process. He was never satisfied with his text; as with architecture, he sought an organizational structure for Synthesis that was as unified, eloquent, and complete as possible. 
In the following excerpt from the preface to his fifth edition of Synthesis, Bill defined eight objectives for the design of good places. In my opinion, the definition of these objectives (and their attendant elaboration in Synthesis 5) represent the acme of Bill’s pursuit of a concise and comprehensive design philosophy. His later redrafts of Synthesis never again so elegantly achieved the same degree of clarity and completeness, and indeed appear wanting by comparison. 
Good places provide supportive conditions and important opportunities for people. Whether large or small, public or private, inside or outside, they provide settings that are precise, generous, and evocative—liberating and inspiring as well as accommodating. Good places embody much and their design is always based upon much; they are the result of an inclusive integration, a synthesis of many essential concerns: 
As architects, we are expected to make places that are: 
  • Immediately useful and accommodating 
  • Lastingly useful and opportunity-rich 
  • Responsive to place and setting 
  • Informed regarding historical precedent and imagery 
  • Well-built and internally coordinated 
  • Well-served and controllable 
  • Lucid 
  • Alive 
Accomplishing this is difficult. Much must be considered. Much understood, and much synthesized. Much imagination and good judgment used along the way. 
It is helpful in this effort to convert the qualities above into eight discrete objectives. They can then be studied and developed, responded to in our projects, returned to again and again as a theory base, and changed when necessary. Briefly stated, the objectives are to: 
Support Purposes and Activities:
Accommodate the regularly occurring activities made explicit by the building program and by the requirements of first users. 
Establish Longevity:
Establish spatial conditions that offer more than what is required by first users and first uses; that is, to make places that will remain useful and meaningful over time. 
Respond to Place:
Achieve connection, particularity, orientation, physical continuity, and appropriateness vis-à-vis setting. 
Maintain Historical Continuity:
Unite many ideas, times, places, and people by appropriately using known principles of design, new principles of design, and imagery. 
Integrate Construction:
Select and design systems of construction that will appropriately define required spaces without waste or confusion. 
Integrate Services and Environmental Controls:
Select and design environmental control and other systems that will appropriately serve required spaces without waste or confusion. 
Achieve Clarity:
Achieve unity, differentiation of parts, and full design synthesis. 
Establish Vitality:
Make places that are evocative, memorable, eloquent, and alive. 
The objectives ae expressed as design actions so that response to them is immediately implied. They must be interpreted and used in ways that are appropriate to the design situation. If this is done, they will provide insight and stimulate new thought, but not diminish the pleasure and the necessity of imaginative, creative design exploration. 
It is also helpful to divide the act of design/synthesis into two parts: 
  1. Determine an appropriate organizational structure; that is, to determine a basic theme or direction that appropriately orders all parts. If this structure is comprehensive, it must be based upon all of the objectives. 
  2. Develop the structure; that is, to actually establish the opportunities and qualities called for by the project (again, all eight objectives should be used).
It is essential in this to realize that appropriate organizational structure cannot be determined simply by acts of personal expression alone. As a synthesis of many factors, it becomes clear slowly and after great effort on the part of the designer. Emerging first as a feeling, it must be tested and developed. Once determined as the correct organization principle, it may be followed and reinforced. If used well, it will lead to an appropriate, unified, and eloquent real place.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Community Consensus and Design Excellence

A traditional Eugene neighborhood (photo by Chris Pietsch from the City of Eugene's Community Design Handbook)
Note: The following is my contribution to this year's AIA-Southwestern Oregon Design Annual (Register-Guard special insert), to be published next month.
The theme of the Design Annual you’re reading is Forward Motion. The articles gathered here reflect the perspectives of just some of the architects who are your neighbors in the community. These insights variously address how we should plan for growth and change, which issues are most worthy of prioritization, which strategies might help us resolve the inflexibility of competing points of view, and what our shared vision for a Eugene of tomorrow should be. The implicit premise is you can entrust architects with illuminating the way toward a collective, promising future. After all, given their education and skill set, aren’t architects best equipped to catalyze the positive changes we all want in the design of our built environment? 

The reality is nothing is so simple that a single profession, regardless of background or stature, will have all the answers. While architects may frequently be of one mind when it comes to complex issues related to design and planning, it’s also true their opinions are occasionally as divergent and varied as they all are as individuals. Architects don’t always speak with one voice. 

In the case of what needs to be done to preserve and improve upon what makes Eugene so desirable, architects cannot exclusively claim the righteous high ground or a monopoly on opinions. It’s taken time, but as a profession, they have learned to listen, to consider humility a virtue, and to avoid repeating past mistakes. Architects recognize that accord with those from outside their bubble on issues of public concern is hard won but worth pursuing. 

Building consensus is challenging, particularly in the arena of environmental and public policy. The process exposes rifts between competing interests, while also highlighting the diversity of those interests and the groups involved. Whether they understand it or not, the parties affected are interdependent, which is why it is difficult and ineffective for these groups to attempt solving controversial problems on their own. Those problems are often immeasurably complex, so much so that people are fooling themselves if they believe solutions are easy to come by because they never are. This is the reason why it sometimes seems miraculous when consensus is achieved. 

A significant planning success story, one built upon community education, collaboration, and consensus, is Envision Eugene. The seven pillars of Envision Eugene reflect the values of the community and are the foundation for the City of Eugene’s present and future policies, guidelines, and actions related to development of the urban environment. The seven pillars are: 
  1. Provide ample ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES for all community members 
  2. Provide HOUSING AFFORDABLE to all income levels 
  5. Protect, repair and enhance NEIGHBORHOOD LIVABILITY 
  6. Protect, restore and enhance NATURAL RESOURCES 
  7. Provide for ADAPTABLE, FLEXIBLE and COLLABORATIVE implementation
It’s probably safe to say most AIA-Southwestern Oregon members agree with how each of the pillars is framed, and with how the city proposes to balance them while accommodating the jobs, homes, parks, and schools we’ll need as Eugene grows. The seven pillars appeal to universal values and beliefs; they’re motherhood statements few people would disagree with. That they likely mirror the thoughts and opinions of local architects should come as no surprise. 

Community involvement has been an important part of the Envision Eugene project from the beginning. The City’s website details how extensive the community involvement process was and continues to be. Architects have participated as equal partners with their fellow citizens directly on various committees or resource groups, and provided review and input during the many public outreach opportunities.

The bottom line is a shared vision of the city’s future exists in the form of Envision Eugene. It isn’t one architects (or even the city’s planning staff) formulated by themselves. A wide spectrum of the community expressed views that were commonly held by many. It only took Envision Eugene to bring those views together and give them shape. 

Allowing that Envision Eugene already establishes a foundation upon which to build a better future, how can architects best leverage their talent, experience, and wisdom as a force for positive change? In my opinion, architects should focus upon what they (we) do best. They (we) need to emphasize the importance of design excellence

Architects have an obligation to influence the community dialogue about how Eugene will look and feel tomorrow. This dialogue is necessary irrespective of Envision Eugene’s seven pillars. It is necessary to augment and give flesh to the principles the pillars espouse. 

But what is design excellence, and who should be its arbiters? 

Architects must emphasize the underlying principles that foster good design; it isn’t enough for architects to simply paint a pretty picture of what could be. The principles underlying design excellence should be the building blocks for codified urban design guidelines and standards. The city’s Community Design Handbook is a baby step in this direction. 

Architects can illustrate strategies for bringing our streets to life, creating successful public spaces, and strengthening neighborhood character. They can explain the importance of working with nature by designing for climate and resiliency, celebrating important natural features, and enhancing the regional habitat network. They can describe why it is important to evoke a sense of place and work with the genius loci by embracing Eugene’s most successful patterns. They certainly can emphasize that design excellence is a means to achieve a desirable urban density because not all density is created equal. The key to buy-in by Eugeneans is enhancing their appreciation for the benefits of good urban form and compact growth. 

The place where urban planning and design excellence meet is not at an edge; instead, there is an overlap that is substantial and growing. Architects understand that planning alone—conducted in the absence of an understanding of its physical consequences—is insufficient to foster a beautiful, sustainable, and livable city. It should be our goal to nurture a culture of design excellence in which citizens equate the quality of the built environment with the quality of their lives. This culture would embrace ingenuity, artistry, and the ineffable properties we immediately recognize as design genius. Ideally, we will see our neighbors demand, value, and appreciate design excellence. If this happens, architects will have contributed in a way only architects can, to truly important and significant effect. 

Looking forward, the pledge of AIA-SWO members is to further ongoing dialogue about critical topics associated with the built environment. If our participation constructively supports enlightened policy-making and greater public appreciation for the value of good design, we’ll have done our job well.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Coordinated Downtown Development

AIA-SWO mini-charrette during the October 19, 2016 chapter meeting (my photo)
AIA-Southwestern Oregon members gathered last Wednesday at the FertiLab Thinkubator to learn more about efforts by the City of Eugene and Lane County to coordinate future downtown development of public facilities they own and operate. Currently under consideration are the fate of the new City Hall, a new and larger Lane County Courthouse, and a year-round farmers’ market. The two agencies recently formed a joint task force to evaluate options for siting these major downtown facilities and public spaces. 

The task force composed a charter statement to guide its efforts: 

“The City of Eugene and Lane County share a common value to provide the best possible service to our communities in ways that make efficient use of public resources. We have before us the opportunity to collaborate on the creation of a truly great civic center that serves Eugene and Lane County for decades to come.” 

The City and County jointly selected Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architecture and Planning as the consultant for the coordinated downtown development study. Cameron McCarthy’s mandate is to identify and evaluate options to help the City and County determine which strategy will best address their separate and mutual needs while working toward their shared goal of creating a “truly great civic center.” 

Larry Gilbert, ASLA, principal at Cameron McCarthy, leads the consultant team, which also includes Jim Robertson, FAIA, FCSI of Robertson/Sherwood/Architects (the firm I work for). Larry began his presentation at the AIA-SWO meeting by providing background information about the study. The new Eugene City Hall saga is well-known by most. That project’s spiraling costs no doubt prompted City Council’s willingness to work with the County to look at possibly more cost-effective alternatives. The existing, aging Lane County Courthouse suffers from numerous deficiencies relative to present-day standards, notably with respect to space, security, and efficiency, and requires either substantial modernization or replacement. The future of the farmer’s market is in play because its current location, the county-owned “butterfly” parking lot is one of the parcels involved in the study. 

Larry described the program areas for each of the study components; they are as follows: 

Eugene City Hall – Phase 1: 35,000 GSF
  • Council Chambers
  • Council Work Session Room
  • Mayor and Council Offices
  • City Manager’s Office 
Parking, Secure: 7,000 GSF (20 Spaces) 

Eugene City Hall – Phase 2: 115,000 GSF 
  • Public Works 
  • Planning & Development 
  • Information Services 
  • Human Resources & Risk Services 
  • Finance & Central Services 
Parking, Secure: None 

Eugene Municipal /Community Court:  20,000 GSF 
  • Municipal Court 
Parking, Secure:  8,400 GSF (24 Spaces) 

Lane County Courthouse: 240,034 GSF 
  • Courts 
  • Courts Administration 
  • Sherriff Transport & Holding 
  • Sheriff Main Offices 
  • Parole & Probation 
  • District Attorney Offices 
  • State Offices 
Parking, Secure:  24,500 GSF (70 Spaces) 

Lane County Farmers Market (covered area):  9,000 GSF 
  • Vending Spaces: 30 
  • Restrooms 
  • Storage 
Lane County Farmers Market (outdoor space):  39,000 GSF 
  • Vending Spaces: 90 
  • Bike Parking 
  • Landscaping 
Based on the programmatic needs, Larry’s team initially developed twelve different options or models. It subsequently distilled the number of siting options for City Hall, the County Courthouse, and the Farmers’ Market down to six possible configurations, which the public (including AIA-SWO) have been asked to comment upon. The Register-Guard provided a detailed summary of the configurations, which I’ve simply repeated here: 

Option A1:
Remodel the existing courthouse for use by the district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices and build a new courthouse on the county-owned “butterfly” parking lot across Oak Street. A skybridge would connect the two buildings. On the vacant City Hall block at Eighth Avenue and Pearl Street, the Phase 2 City Hall would take up its northern half, the Phase 1 City Hall would be built on the empty lot’s southwest corner, and the farmer’s market would be constructed on the southeast corner. 

Option A2:
Consolidate the courthouse, district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices in one new nine-story building—it would be the tallest in downtown—on the butterfly lot. The existing courthouse would be preserved for county government operations. On the vacant City Hall block, the Phase 2 City Hall would be two buildings constructed on the northern half of the lot, and the Phase 1 City Hall and farmers’ market would swap places on the lot’s southern half.

Option B1:
Build the county courthouse and Phase 1 City Hall on the vacant City Hall block. The district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices take up the entire existing courthouse, and a very long skybridge would connect it to the new courthouse. Phase 2 City Hall would be constructed south of Eighth Avenue along Pearl Street. On the butterfly lot, the farmer’s market would operate on its southern half, and a new mixed-use building would be built on its northern half. 

Option B2:
The county courthouse with sheriff and district attorney functions would be built on the vacant City Hall block, wrapping around Phase 1 City Hall. The Phase 2 City Hall would be divided between two buildings by renovating the existing courthouse and constructing a second building across Oak from it on the northern half of the butterfly lot. The farmers’ market would occupy the lot’s second half. 

Option C1:
The new county courthouse and all associated functions would take up the entire vacant City Hall block. Phase 1 City Hall would be built on the butterfly lot’s northern half with the farmers’ market occupying the southern half. (The city and county are seeking an expedited court ruling on whether city founder Eugene Skinner’s 1855 deed to the county prevents a City Hall from being constructed on the butterfly lot.) Phase 2 City Hall would be divided between a renovated existing courthouse and the Wells Fargo building, where the city currently leases office space, so city services would be spread out in a campus environment with the Park Blocks at its center. 

Option C2:
The new county courthouse and all associated functions would take up the entire vacant City Hall block. The farmers’ market would be built on the southern half of the butterfly lot. In another variation of a city campus concept, Phase 1 City Hall would be built on the butterfly lot’s northern half with another floor—the fifth—added for Phase 2 offices. A new Phase 2 city office building would be constructed on the location of the existing courthouse. 

Each of these scenarios is still preliminary in nature, which is why input from groups like AIA-SWO remains important. Larry facilitated a mini-charrette during Wednesday’s meeting to ensure that ideas, or problems with ideas, are not overlooked before presenting a final slate of options to the elected officials and the public. The charrette was energetic and enjoyable, and did generate some inspired concepts for the consultant team to consider. 

The joint task force directed the consultant team to ultimately settle upon three concepts, so the six versions Larry presented will further be narrowed by half. He did say the final coordinated downtown development study will not single out a preferred option. Instead, the point of the study is to provide the joint task force with the information it needs to identify the concept it prefers to see implemented. Toward this end, the study will ultimately address questions about cost, context, transportation impact, and additional work required. 

Which option do I prefer? I have a preference but I’ll defer saying anything until after the report is finalized. 

Of course, notably absent from the scope of the study is the renewed possibility of EWEB offering its current administrative headquarters building on the Willamette riverfront to the City of Eugene for adaptation as a new City Hall. The City is not ignoring that possibility but is simply also exploring the potential of a collaboration and possible land swap with Lane County. 

Notably, some city council members have expressed reluctance with the prospect of delaying construction of the new, ceremonial City Hall as most recently planned. They would rather proceed with that design as soon as possible despite the opportunities inherent in a collaboration with the county or a purchase from EWEB of its building. I personally believe not considering all options on the table (especially when they’ve presented themselves so serendipitously) would be shortsighted, so I wholeheartedly support taking this step back. 

There will be one more opportunity for the public to comment upon the six coordinated development options before Larry’s team reduces that number to the three the joint task force will deliberate upon. The City and County are hosting a community open house on Wednesday, November 2 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Harris Hall, 125 East Eighth Avenue. For more meeting information, or if you don’t think you’ll be able to attend the open house, provide your comments online at

Big thanks to Larry for providing such an informative presentation. Thanks too to the elected representatives and members of the joint task force who recognize the opportunities inherent in developing an equitably beneficial and collaborative vision. This is a momentous time for downtown Eugene. The decisions that will be made now are critical. They require considerable thoughtfulness and imagination. There is simply too much at stake that will impact the future of Eugene for too many years to come.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Advancing Market Acceptance of CLT

A CLT panel, freshly laid up and glued, being readied for insertion into the hydraulic press in the D.R. Johnson manufacturing facility (all photos by me unless noted otherwise).
The construction industry, particularly here in the U.S., is often slow to adopt new and promising technologies. That said, recent decades have witnessed the growing urgency of implementing earth-friendly, sustainable strategies in buildings. Much of this impetus is attributable to an increasing awareness about how huge the carbon footprint of the built environment is (by some estimates accounting for as much as half of the world’s CO2 emissions and likewise half of its energy consumption). Regardless, owners, architects, engineers, builders, and lenders in this country continue to prioritize financial return and risk-aversion above experimentation. This is why we should applaud businesses who are willing to step up, pioneer new ways of doing things, and who champion the cause of carbon neutral efforts. 
D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. is one such company. D.R. Johnson is fully committed to the acceptance of advanced wood products in the construction industry, most notably cross-laminated timber (CLT). It is also dedicated to making the most of our state’s greatest natural resource and providing new jobs for rural communities. The key to D.R. Johnson’s strategy is promoting CLT as both a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative for buildings customarily constructed primarily of steel and concrete. 
Cross-laminated timber is conceptually very simple. Like glue-laminated beams, CLT is a “mass timber” product comprised of layers of wood planks glued together to form strong and fire-resistant structural panels for use in walls, roofs, and floors. I find it surprising CLT hasn’t previously been extensively utilized. Governments in Canada and Europe have subsidized CLT research, manufacturing, and construction of buildings for years; consequently, the majority of CLT projects to date are located abroad rather than here in the United States. If D.R. Johnson is on the right track, that’s about to change very soon. 
I joined dozens of my AIA-Southwestern Oregon colleagues as well as students and faculty from the University of Oregon’s Department of Architecture last Wednesday for a visit to D.R. Johnson’s plant in Riddle, OR. The facility is only one of two in the country (the other belonging to SmartLam in Whitefish, MT) producing CLT panels for use in structural applications. We not only enjoyed the opportunity to witness D.R. Johnson’s manufacturing processes but also learn a great deal about mass timber construction in general via a series of presentations both en route and at our destination. 
Judith Sheine, head of the UO Department of Architecture, and Mark Donofrio, AIA, assistant professor of architecture (and also current member of the AIA-SWO board of directors), described the work of their joint studio in which students explored the properties and potential of CLT construction in the design of a parking structure for the Glenwood district between Eugene and Springfield. Notably, the studio was part of a collaborative effort involving both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. Judith and Mark explained how, with support from the State of Oregon, the collaboration is leveraging academic resources to create and test new applications for CLT in the construction of modular and tall buildings. A byproduct of UO/OSU alliance is the newly formed National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing, which will help accelerate use of CLT in this country. The Center’s goals are to assist Oregon’s timber industry by growing the market for mass timber products, expand the design profession’s stellar reputation for sustainable design, and establishing Oregon as North America’s hub for expertise in innovative wood building design.
Glenwood Mass Timber Parking Structure: UO studio project by Tom Adamson, Ryan Kiesler, and Tom Moss (Judith Sheine & Mark Donofrio, professors)

Valerie Johnson, president of D.R. Johnson, presented the sustainability case for CLT, which is premised upon its smaller environmental impact when compared to other common building materials. She pointed to how life cycle assessment studies show that wood products outperform steel and concrete in terms of embodied energy, as well as air and water pollution produced. Wood also has better thermal performance properties than common alternatives, making it more energy efficient. And wood is the only common building material derived from a renewable resource. 
Valerie Johnson
Valerie argued wood products have a significantly smaller carbon footprint, because they sequester carbon from the environment. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing the carbon in wood fiber and releasing oxygen. The stored carbon remains in the wood after the trees are converted to wood products, and the cycle starts over when new trees are planted to replace those that were harvested. 
She described how D.R. Johnson is working with the National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and the American Plywood Association (APA) to manufacture and test CLT panels to obtain third-party certification and assist with the development of consensus-based product and design standards. 
Valerie clearly relishes the opportunity the advent of CLT presents her company. For her, it’s a once-in-a-career opportunity to be on the cutting edge of something new and beneficial for our planet. 

Completed CLT panel. CLT is generally manufactured in slabs that are 3, 5 or 7 layers thick, and that are 10 feet wide and up to 60 feet long.
Tom Williamson, PE, of Timber Engineering LLC, further enumerated the advantages of CLT. These include its lower material weight at comparable strength—up to six times lighter than concrete. The lighter weight is advantageous in the case of earthquakes and also for transportation and onsite assembly. CLT panels act as plates with dimensional stability and static strength in all directions. CLT projects can be erected very quickly, reducing onsite construction time. They produce minimal jobsite waste, require smaller footings, and are versatile and easily integrated with other building materials. CLT also allows the use of shorter pieces of wood that can’t be used in traditional glulam beams, as well as lumber from smaller trees harvested from managed and sustainable forests. 
Tom touched upon the development of various CLT design standards and the integration of provisions within the model building codes specific to the use of CLT. These include code pathways and considerations for the use of CLT in tall buildings (greater than six stories in height). He cited the recently published CLT Design Handbook, which includes useful information for architects and engineers on topics ranging from detailing connections between panels to fire performance of CLT assemblies. 
 The U.S.CLT Design Handbook is available for free download at
Tom didn’t shy away from identifying the drawbacks of using CLT, which are primarily associated with our current unfamiliarity with the product and its associated design standards and codes, its lack of performance history in North America, the fact its use under wet conditions has not yet been extensively studied, and its cost relative to competing systems. 
The cost issue figured heavily during a presentation by John Rowell, AIA about his firm’s decision to use CLT in the design of the 33 East Broadway project in downtown Eugene. John along with his partner Greg Brokaw, and businessman Kaz Oveissi, are the developers of the proposed office building. Rowell Brokaw Architects will occupy one whole floor of the four-story design, furthering the company’s commitment to working downtown. John sees 33 East Broadway as appealing to like-minded companies, who will be attracted to its urban setting, innovative use of exposed CLT, and the natural, creative vibe of the design. 
John said RBA used cost models to compare the benefits and shortcomings of various structural material and system options. In the end, the draw of using CLT—its innovativeness, aesthetic potential, and sustainability as a building material—outweighed RBA’s unfamiliarity with the technology and concerns about its expense. The arrival of D.R. Johnson on the CLT scene during RBA’s design of the project proved serendipitous. With D.R. Johnson as a local manufacturer for the panels, the cost for sourcing them would be reduced significantly. Opportune too was the State of Oregon’s eagerness to support CLT projects and the ongoing research by the Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing. 
John elaborated upon several aspects of CLT building design that are unique to the technology. These include how to detail and protect the connections from exposure to fire, and also how to accommodate distribution of MEP systems and address acoustical concerns. John hopes to see the project break ground very soon. 
 33 East Broadway (rendering by Rowell Brokaw Architects)
Mariapaolo Riggio is an assistant professor in the Wood Science and Engineering (WSE) department in Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. She is a key member of the Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing, conducting research on mass timber technologies, including CLT. Mariapaolo brings an interdisciplinary perspective to her research, with a particular emphasis upon the long-term performance of mass timber buildings using integrated monitoring methodologies. She described how her investigations and those of her associates will contribute significantly toward the increasing acceptance of CLT as a building material here in the U.S. The proliferation of CLT will benefit not only companies like D.R. Johnson but also create jobs in Oregon and move the construction industry toward a more carbon-neutral future.  

D.R. Johnson’s newly installed Hundegger PBA “gantry” style saw. The saw efficiently cuts the CLT panels, using up to 9 different cutting and milling tools for roof profiles, wall details, and openings.

Something that surprised me during our tour of the D.R. Johnson facility was how low-tech the production of CLT panels actually is. As described above, it really does just consist of gluing up lumber in (perpendicular) layers, pressing them together, and then cutting them to the desired size and shape. At the moment, much of the assembly process still requires manual labor (a notable exception being the Hundegger PBA computer numerical controlled (CNC) saw). If CLT really takes off, I can imagine D.R. Johnson further investing heavily in robotic technology to increase efficiencies. It wouldn’t surprise me if heavily capitalized lumber industry giants (such as Weyerhaeuser or Georgia Pacific, or perhaps one of the established European or Canadian manufacturers) jump in once the commercial viability of CLT in the U.S. market is established. As America’s CLT pioneer, I hope D.R. Johnson is rewarded for its efforts and corners its fair share. 
The Vine & Wine Center at Abacela Winery 

A definite treat along our journey back to Eugene was a stop at the Abacela Winery, just outside of Roseburg. Sited astride the Klamath/Coastal Range fault, the winery’s sloping, scenic site boasts soil and climate conditions most conducive to the production of the Tempranillo, Syrah, Grenache, Malbec, Tannat, and Albrino grape varietals. In keeping with the sustainability theme of the road trip, Abacela uses a geothermal system for heating and cooling its Vine & Wine Center, practices sustainable viticulture, and has set aside 300 acres of its property as an oak savannah nature preserve. 

Following our visit to Riddle, I’m much better informed about cross-laminated timber, how it is manufactured, its benefits, and the potential for its applications. D.R. Johnson’s CLT venture is highly promising. In my opinion, the increased use of mass timber products like CLT is good for Oregon and good for our natural world.  I know I speak for everyone who participated in the tour when I say kudos to each of our speakers, the tour organizers, and our hosts at D.R. Johnson for a well-conceived, enjoyable, and highly informative road trip.