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Mass Plywood Fabrication and Assembly

Partners

Freres Lumber Co
Kaufman Homes
KPFF Consulting Engineers

LEVER has teamed up with Freres Lumber Co and KPFF Consulting Engineers to explore the design and structural possibilities of Mass Plywood, a new veneer-based wood product developed by the Freres Lumber Co with technical direction from the Tallwood Design Institute. The team has built two pavilions to date, testing the structural capabilities and manufacturing potential of the new material.

The first pavilion was on display in the courtyard of the Portland Art Museum during the summer of 2017, in conjunction with the exhibition, "Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon."  As the first structure ever made with this material, design and construction of the pavilion provided a unique opportunity to test the spanning, cantilevering, and structural connections for Mass Plywood.

The latest rendition tested the production possibilities of Mass Plywood. On display at the 2018 Mass Timber Conference in Portland, OR, this was the first mass plywood structure to fully utilize digital fabrication technology. 

For information on Mass Plywood Panels visit the Freres Lumber Co website.

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Mass Plywood Panel fabrication at Freres Lumber Co in Lyons, Oregon and installation of the pavilion at the Portland Art Museum.

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Mass Plywood Panel fabrication at Freres Lumber Co in Lyons, Oregon.

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Mass Plywood is a large scale, structural panel made from wood veneers. This "super plywood" is available in thicknesses up to 24".

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Pavilion test assembly at Freres Lumber Co. The structure is made from a series of prefabricated modules.

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The final iteration of the first pavilion included 12' spans and a 10' cantilever. The team developed a construction scheme that included prefabrication of the four individual frames off-site and the craning in place and final assembly of the pavilion in the museum courtyard. The pavilion also provided the first opportunity to test how the material performed under the harsh environmental conditions of the Pacific Northwest.

 

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Plan and Elevation

The design explores the spanning and cantilevering capabilities of a Mass Plywood Panel that is 4’ x 17’ x 6”. Each module used to build the pavilion is structurally independent. 

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The second pavilion explored the manufacturing potential for more complex structures. The program called for three types of spaces: the central enclosed space, a bench-height lounging area, and a bar-height gathering place. Unlike the first pavilion which used on off-the-shelf panel, this structure incorporated sharp angles, larger panel sizes, and the need for precise joinery. 

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Mass plywood panels prepped for assembly

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Pavilion assembly

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Pavilion delivered to site and ready for final placement

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Mass Plywood installation at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon.

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Pavilion modules were prefabricated at Freres Lumber and transported to the museum.

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A 100’ boom crane hoisted the four prefabricated frames directly from a semi truck into the sculpture court.

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Each pavilion module is attached to a foundation made from Mass Plywood. 

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Lifting the final module into the sculpture court.

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Each frame is structurally independent and was assembled using structural wood screws.

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114 SWG ASSY ECO structural screws fix the frames to the base.

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Detail of CNC milled joint

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Pavilion assembly

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Pavilion delivered to site and ready for final placement

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Mass Plywood installation at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon.

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Pavilion modules were prefabricated at Freres Lumber and transported to the museum.

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Mass Plywood Panel fabrication at Freres Lumber Co in Lyons, Oregon.

Mass Plywood is a large scale, structural panel made from wood veneers. This "super plywood" is available in thicknesses up to 24".

Pavilion test assembly at Freres Lumber Co. The structure is made from a series of prefabricated modules.

Plan and Elevation

The design explores the spanning and cantilevering capabilities of a Mass Plywood Panel that is 4’ x 17’ x 6”. Each module used to build the pavilion is structurally independent. 

Mass plywood panels prepped for assembly