When ZGF introduced us to their mass timber concept for the PDX TCORE design, we knew the inspiring biophilic design would call for an analysis unlike any other done before. The design team not only needed to prove structural resiliency, but also assurances in the event of a fire for what will likely become one of the largest timber roofs in history. This new TCORE design was a special opportunity to exhibit the region’s progressive culture and fervent appreciation for the environment by pushing design boundaries and bringing the outdoors in with dramatic, natural wood design features that still meet what the code intends and encompasses.
Our team took a deep look at structural performance through a detailed heat, smoke, and finite element analysis of the columns for the exposed wood canopy. We examined each part of the assembly system, all the way down to the grout, to determine the appropriate protocols for this unique and progressive project. We also looked at the comprehensive building layout in tandem to account for the effects of fire scenarios and combustible loading in surrounding areas with full sprinklers. This multi-layered analysis provided recommended actions to meet the fire and life safety requirements for the jurisdiction and get our client’s environmentally driven concept cleared for takeoff.
We successfully delivered options for spatial thresholds and alternate protection measures that mitigated any impact to occupants in case of a fire emergency. With in-depth analysis and computer modeling data for the new TCORE project we proved to the jurisdiction that bringing extensive natural wood into the building could be done safely and without additional risk to the occupants.