GLULAM: Timber Product Manufacturing Facility
The overall configuration of this project aims to celebrate a potential public architecture of the forest industry on the New Haven Mill River site while remedying this site’s ecology of the wetland within the flood zone.
By creating a large-scale expressive timber structure formed in undulating and arching long-span glue-laminated timbers, the project accommodates a variety of programs for material receiving, processing, manufacturing, storage and transport, as well as multi-story offices and research/design sectors along the riverside, education and exhibition spaces, and a street-front supply market under the cantilever.
The original inspiration was derived from glulam precedents by Alvar Aalto and others during the studio’s trip in Europe, and as a result the giant bent glulam members, which delaminate to touch the ground and laminate as arches to support the roof, demonstrate the potential of long span contemporary timber construction.
The big canopy captures both rainwater and daylight through its topography and apertures, collecting ambient north light for factory halls, and stronger south sunlight for the freight rail track platforms in between. Meanwhile, skylights and passages pierce the canopy to introduce daylight and circulation into different sectors of the building. Toward the river is a wetland park for the workers and public, with a series of storm water catchment basins and pedestrian paths that weave nature with the built environment.