timber city






Timber City is an ongoing multi-year research project that explores the environmental efficacy and the industrial, structural, and architectural potential of urban “mass” timber construction technologies.  A research initiative of Gray Organschi Architecture, and supported in part by the Hines Research Fund for Advanced Sustainability at Yale University, the initial phase of research has led to three publications:

Multiplier Effect: High Performance Construction Assemblies and Urban  Density in US Housing, which examined the compounding impacts of suburban housing morphology, high performance building technology, and carbon emissions

Timber City: Speculations in a Black Market, which argued for the redirection of timber construction from the suburbs to dense urban applications

Timber City: Growing an Urban Carbon Sink with Glue, Screws, and Cellulose Fiber, which assessed the carbon storage capacity of a prototypical mass timber infill building and speculated on the systemic implications of deploying mass timber throughout urban environments.

Principals of Gray Organschi Architecture, Lisa Gray and Alan Organschi, have presented lectures on Timber City, available below:


Scarce Means, Alternative Uses at the Yale School of Architecture Public Lecture Series, July 2015


Timber City: Speculations on the Future-- Material, Organization, and Impacts-- of Housing in Post-Bubble America at the Columbia University GSAPP Alumni Forum, April 2012 (jump to 20:30)

Currently, this research project focuses on developing a comprehensive approach for incorporating timber construction into cities,  an approach which simultaneously addresses regional material flows, economies of carbon generation and sequestration, the development of new industrial processes, and the complex spatial, architectural, legal, and logistical challenges of constructing timber buildings in dense urban centers.


In this sense, we are not proposing a single tectonic solution or a generalized planning scheme.  Rather, this project considers a wide spectrum of scales, from the seed and the connection detail to the urban megalopolis and the forest.  The new city would operate within a larger regional ecosystem, transforming from a source of carbon emissions into a carbon sink through the development of new buildings and urban structural typologies in wood: a timber city.


™ 2016  Gray Organschi Architecture