Timber Lofts Wins National Design Award

City’s first mass timber project, in Walker’s Point, chosen best new wood apartment building.

The best new wood apartment building in the country is in Milwaukee.

So says the WoodWorks – Wood Products Council. The non-profit bestowed the Timber Lofts apartment building with its 2021 Multi-Family Wood Design award.

And while most new apartment buildings are made of lumber, the 60-unit building at 331 S. 3rd St. is the first in the city to use mass timber, a man-made lumber product, in its structure.

Developer Ann Pieper Eisenbrown‘s project, completed in 2020, involves a four-story, horizontal mass timber addition to the 138-year-old, five-story Louis Bass Building.

The resulting units, designed by Engberg Anderson Architects and built by Catalyst Construction, have a substantial amount of exposed wood that is billed as an aesthetic benefit.

But it’s not just a visual benefit. Because it mimics many of the properties of old-growth lumber, mass timber is more desirable than conventional wood construction. It only chars (rather than burning through) in a fire, reduces on-site construction time and offers enhanced strength.

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