Recent Work – Timberlab / Mass Timber Construction
Last winter, Timberlab asked me to help them tell the story of one of their construction projects, a mass timber feature of a new building on a college campus in Maine. Timberlab is a division of Swinerton Construction, a national construction company based in Portland, OR (“the other Portland,” as we say here in New England). Timberlab specializes in mass timber construction.
Mass timber is a general name for engineered wood products (such as Cross-Laminated Timber, or CLT, and Glue-Laminated Timber, or Glulam) that can be used in place of steel and concrete in construction. Mass timber can have a much lower climate impact than steel and concrete and can be used in bigger projects than regular wood, especially commercial buildings, so it’s an exciting development and I was thrilled to support it.
On this cold January day, Timberlab was installing a series of large, multi-story V-shaped columns as part of a covered colonnade on the front of the building, and wanted me to capture their six-person crew on site assembling and installing this massive structure .
When possible, I prefer to stage images within people’s work, which allows me to balance candidness with control. For this project, the nature of the construction tasks, the involvement of the third-party crane operator, and the project schedule meant there was no opportunity to do that, so I took a documentary approach.
My goal is to make visually interesting images that convey the skill, intelligence, creativity and humanity of the workers, and the complexity of the work.
Construction sites have lots of graphic elements – repeated beams, piles of materials, etc. – and I love to use them to add visual texture.
Any time I can get an unusual perspective, especially looking down from above, I want to take advantage of that.
For more information:
- See more construction portrait & lifestyle images, including more images from this project
- See more craftspeople, artisans and makers
- Learn more about this project on the Timberlab website
For more information about mass timber and the role of the building sector in climate change:
- “Why the Building Sector?”, Architecture2030.com
- “The hottest new thing in sustainable building is, uh, wood,” David Roberts, Vox.com, Jan 15, 2020.
- Softwood Lumber Board’s Think Wood campaign section on mass timber
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