ArchitectureConstructionDevelopmentMultifamilySustainability

Denver’s Tallest Mass Timber Building Set to Break Ground in 2023

Denver’s tallest mass timber building will break ground in July 2023, Denver-based Tres Birds announced today. Situated in the RiNo Arts District, the 12-story multifamily building named “Return to Form” will be located at 3495 Wynkoop Street and will include 84 dwelling units including four penthouse units, 32 two-bedroom units, 32 one-bedroom units, and 16 studio units. Four of the units will be affordable as defined by the City of Denver.

“The recent development of mass timber construction allows us — for the first time in history — to design high-rise building structures out of a renewable resource: trees,” said Michael Moore, founder and design principal of Tres Birds. “This new fire-resistant building material is renewable, hence healthy for the planet. Trees utilize carbon to make oxygen, and vegetation cools the earth. Concrete — and the fossil fuels used to make and transport it — create more carbon that adds to global warming. We need to be building all of our buildings out of renewable resources and manage those resources well.”

The Return to Form building will have 84 dwelling units including four penthouse units, 32 two-bedroom units, 32 one-bedroom units, and 16 studio units. Four of the units will be affordable as defined by the City of Denver. The ground floor will feature a café that will be open to the public, and a lobby, gym and co-working amenities for the building residents. The dwelling units will occupy the 4th-12th floors. A rooftop deck is planned for building residents. On-site parking will be on levels 2 and 3.

Mass timber is a new technology that utilizes small diameter trees from sustainably managed forests, which are renewable through sound planting and harvesting practices. Comprised of wood panels that are glued and laminated together, mass timber provides extraordinary strength, stability, and fire resistance.

Tres Birds and the development team won the 2022 Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero this summer for the “Return to Form” project. The $2 million prize will be shared by six winning projects and is sponsored by the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and USDA Forest Service (USDA). The project team includes Katz Development, Timberlab, ARUP, and KL&A Engineers and Builders.

The mass timber will be made from Douglas fir from the Pacific Northwest and will be designed so that walls and ceilings are exposed wood. Large windows will slide open. Only a small percentage of the building will be made with concrete including the foundation, stairs, and elevator core.

“The bottom line is building with wood, rather than concrete or steel, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” notes Moore.

Tres Birds is a full-service planning, architecture and general contracting firm. Founded in 2000, Tres Birds creates dynamic designs for a better world―building sustainable community, respecting nature, and sparking innovation.

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