Upcoming Events

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Wood Design Symposium: Evolving Codes and Innovative Timber Construction in the Midwest

March 11, 2020 – 8:15 am - 4:30 pm


Chicago, ILChicago, IL


Building design and construction communities in Chicago and the greater Midwest are facing an unprecedented confluence of factors driving change. The need for sustainable, urban construction has never been higher. At the same time, building codes are evolving in significant ways to recognize new materials and technologies that allow wood-frame and mass timber buildings at heights and scales previously unattainable. Nationally, the next published version of the International Building Code (IBC) will introduce three new mass timber construction types that allow up to 18-story timber buildings, while Chicago is undergoing its first extensive building code update in over 70 years. In response to these changes, the U.S. trend toward innovative wood construction is especially pronounced in the Midwest.

This symposium will bring together the design and construction communities to discuss projects that are pushing the edge of what’s possible, codes that are evolving to allow this, and the design and details necessary to make it all work. A dynamic mix of speakers and panel topics will make this an engaging and thought-provoking educational event that designers, developers and contractors won’t want to miss. A combination of inspirational context and practical design knowledge will be shared in order to equip attendees with the know-how to utilize innovative wood systems in the Midwest and beyond.

8:30AM – 10:30AM

Case Studies –Innovation and Trends in Timber Construction

  • 1040 West Fulton: Chicago’s First Modern Heavy Timber Structure – John Mitchell, LEED AP BD+CHartshorne Plunkard Architecture
  • The Inside Story of Minneapolis’s First Multi-Family Passive House Building – Kim Bretheim, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, LHB
  • Sustainable Timber Construction at Michigan State University’s new STEM Facility – Kevin Marshall, AIA, LEED BD+C,  Integrated Design Solutions
  • Panel Q&A

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Building Code Changes in Chicago and Beyond: How Does This Impact Your Project?

  • Chicago Building Code Modernization & Impacts on Wood Construction – James Smith, PEAmerican Wood Council
  • The Evolution of Mid-Rise Design: Code Changes = New Opportunities – Archie Landreman, WoodWorks
  • Panel Q&A

1:00PM – 2:30PM

Emerging Design Topics for Wood Systems

  • Detailing Mass Timber Buildings for Fire Safety – David Barber, Arup
  • Design of Wood Cantilever, Open-Front Diaphragms – Scott Breneman, PhD, PE, SE, WoodWorks
  • Panel Q&A

3:00PM – 4:30PM

Tall Wood Projects in the Midwest: Challenges, Solutions and Lessons Learned

  • Ascent Milwaukee: Designing the Tallest Mass Timber Building in the United States – Jason Korb, Korb + Associates Architects
  • INTRO, Cleveland: Nine Stories of Type IV-B Mass Timber in Cleveland – Dan Whalen, Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors
  • Not Just Another Condo Building: TMBR and a Smart Construction Revolution – Colin Oglesbay, D/O Architects
  • Panel Q&A


Onsite Check-in Begins: 7:30 am
Opening Session: 8:15 am
Lunch: 12:00 – 1:00 pm includes Wood Design Award video
Concludes: 4:30 pm


Venue SIX10
610 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

Map & directions

Parking:  Discounted parking with Venue SIX10 validation $9 for 12 hours at Grant Park South Garage, also known as Millennium Park South Garage, underground garage (325 S. Michigan Ave)


Attendees can earn up to 6.0 AIA/CES HSW LUs, 6.0 PDH credits, or 0.6 ICC credits

Professional Development Certificates (AIA/CES and ICC) will be available on site.


Click here to access the presentations – available a couple days prior to the event.


Mary Schramka
WoodWorks – Wood Products Council


Click here to access the Exhibitor Information page.

Refund Policy

Cancel before March 4, 2020 to receive full refund (less Eventbrite fees). Cancellations after this date are non-refundable.

1040 West Fulton: Chicago’s First Modern Heavy Timber Structure

Due in part to past building code restrictions, no new heavy timber structures of significant size or function have been realized in Chicago for quite some time—until 1040 West Fulton. This 29,000-sf, five-story boutique office building with first-floor retail utilized a glue-laminated (glulam) timber post-and-beam frame with heavy timber decking to achieve a distinctly beautiful and modern structure. In this session, the principal architect will share how the project was ultimately approved after extensive interactions with the city, as well as design and construction techniques unique to modern heavy timber structures, and lessons learned along the way.

John Mitchell, LEED AP BD+CHartshorne Plunkard Architecture

Since joining HPA in 2004, John Mitchell has distinguished himself as a design leader skilled in managing the challenges of complex mixed-use construction. An effective project manager and clear communicator, he has led the design team for some of the firm’s most substantial commissions, including the Graduate Hotel Nashville, 811 Uptown, and 1225 Old Town—named Development of the Year at the Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards. John is a key member of HPA’s Technical Services Committee, which advances best practices and facilitates professional development initiatives. An expert in building envelope systems, he organizes comprehensive drawing reviews to promote high quality deliverables.

The Inside Story of Minneapolis’s First Multi-Family Passive House Building

The first affordable, multi-family passive housing project in Minnesota is part of the two-building, 118-unit Hook & Ladder affordable housing development in Northeast Minneapolis. Adjacent to an active railroad, this project utilized core passive house design principals such as enhanced envelope insulation, airtightness and continuous mechanical ventilation to not only realize significant reductions in energy use and heating/cooling demands, but also provide enhanced indoor air quality and occupant comfort while reducing railroad sound transmission. In this session, the architect will discuss how the design of this project evolved, its building enclosure details, the simple yet effective and buildable solutions achieved, and the construction processes and site verifications necessary to realize successful multi-family passive house projects.

Kim Bretheim, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, LHB

Kim has 40 years of architectural experience in multi-family residential design and leads the LHB Housing Studio. His award-winning designs cover a wide variety of housing types, including student housing, townhomes, condominiums, apartment buildings, supportive housing, and mixed-use developments. Kim was recently inducted into the Fellowship of the AIA (FAIA) for his commitment to creating and preserving affordable housing for all through sustainable building and community design.

Sustainable Timber Construction at Michigan State University’s new STEM Facility

Michigan State University’s new STEM Teaching Facility, due to open in the fall of 2020, is breaking new ground as the first significant use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in the state. The 121,290-sf facility serves as an addition to the long-decommissioned Shaw Lane Power Plant, utilizing an exposed mass timber structure of glulam column and beam frame with CLT floors and walls to realize the University’s goal of utilizing innovative and sustainable construction methods while functioning as a visual learning tool. The building is designed to encourage cross-pollination of ideas by drawing students through the vibrant and active student commons spaces, seamlessly connecting disciplines and supporting evolving curriculum and pedagogies. In this presentation, the architect will share drivers for the use of mass timber, highlight design strategies that are code-compliant while maximizing the visual appeal of mass timber, and discuss the lessons learned from preconstruction coordination through field coordination and erection.

Kevin Marshall, AIA, LEED BD+C,  Integrated Design Solutions

Kevin’s obsession lies in the details. Whether creating the most functional and efficient plan or keeping the rain out, he is always looking for ways to improve the status quo. As a lead technical architect, he works across not only the architectural department, but also closely with other disciplines to develop a project. To him, architecture is not only 3-dimensional, requiring study from all angles, but 4-dimensional, requiring the dimension of time to be successful and sustainable. Throughout his career, Kevin has worked on a wide variety of projects, but has mostly been involved in the higher education market. He feels a duty to help mentor the young professionals entering the practice and has been an active participant in the AIA Michigan Mentoring program for many years.

Chicago Building Code Modernization & Impacts on Wood Construction

In 2019, Chicago adopted the first extensive updates to its building code in over 70 years. The new code, which is voluntary now but will become mandatory in August 2020, will incorporate parts of the 2018 International Building Code (IBC). Aligning the Chicago Building Code (CBC) with national model codes provides a greater level of familiarity among the building design community as well as a path for future updates. This presentation will provide an overview of the new CBC provisions, with a focus on the allowances and limitations related to wood-frame and mass timber construction.

James Smith, PEAmerican Wood Council

Jim Smith joined the American Wood Council (AWC) in 2014 as the Midwest Regional Manager, and serves as a resource for code officials in the States of ND, SD, MN, IA, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH and KY. He is a member of the ICC Building Code Action Committee and serves as Chair of the ICC Region III Code Development Committee. Prior to joining AWC, Jim was Chief Building Inspector and Zoning Administrator for the City of Waukesha, WI. Before Waukesha, he was with the State of Wisconsin’s Safety and Buildings Division as the Program Manager responsible for their Commercial Building Code program and Building Product Evaluation Program. Jim is a graduate of Madison College.

The Evolution of Mid-Rise Design: Code Changes = New Opportunities

The expanding use of wood-frame construction for mid-rise projects is allowing architects to creatively achieve multiple, simultaneous objectives. Wood can effectively meet code requirements while adding value and meeting the need for increased density in urban environments. Increasingly, wood buildings of five, six and more stories are rising among traditional concrete and steel shells as designers and developers embrace timber’s vast potential for lower cost, faster installation, and a significantly lighter carbon footprint. In response to the evolution of national building codes and their allowances for wood construction, this session will illustrate trends in both residential and commercial mid-rise buildings. Topics will include code-compliant options for meeting fire and life safety requirements and current and upcoming code allowances that offer opportunities for larger and taller buildings, including 2021 IBC provisions that will allow timber structures up to 18 stories.

Archie Landreman, WoodWorks

Archie has been active in the wood and structural building component industry since 1970. His background includes various sales and sales management positions related to wood products. In particular, he has extensive experience with lumber, structural wood panels, prefabricated wall panels, wood trusses, engineered wood beams and I-joists. He is a participating member of organizations including AIA, ALA, CSI, FPS, NFBA, SBCA, SEA, and SIPA.

Detailing Mass Timber Buildings for Fire Safety

Heavy and mass timber buildings are unique in that they can have an unprotected structure while still providing a level of fire resistance required by code. However, both designers and jurisdictions tend to be unfamiliar with this approach. This presentation will cover a variety of exposed structural wood products—including solid sawn lumber, glulam, CLT and nail-laminated timber (NLT)—in different fire-resistant applications for construction Types III, IV and V. Discussion will include implementation of char calculations, considerations for connections, penetrations, joints, partitions, and the use of fire test data to demonstrate performance. With a better understanding of the challenges and potential solutions, attendees will be able to confidently pursue exposed wood for their projects.

David Barber, Arup

David is a Principal with multi-disciplinary engineering firm Arup, where he specializes in the fire safety of mass timber buildings. For over 20 years, he has assisted with fire testing, helped develop new timber technologies, authored fire safety design guides for construction, and implemented fire safety solutions for mid-rise and high-rise timber buildings. With resurgent interest in mass timber construction, David relocated to Washington to assist Arup in developing a US-based team that works with researchers, architects and developers in the fire safety of timber structures. He is currently working with project teams on mass timber buildings throughout the US and globally.

Design of Wood Cantilever, Open-Front Diaphragms

Designers of modern low-rise and mid-rise multi-family buildings often face challenges due to fewer opportunities for shear walls at exterior wall lines (e.g., more glass and larger openings), increased building heights, and multi-story shear wall effects. While corridor-only shear walls are becoming more popular to address the lack of adequate exterior shear walls, methods of analysis for open-front structures are also evolving to reflect more complex building geometries. The goal of this presentation is to provide guidance on how to analyze an open-front or corridor-only shear wall diaphragm, and help engineers better understand flexibility issues associated with these types of structures. The techniques and examples covered in this presentation are intended to demonstrate one method of analysis. It is anticipated that this information will serve as guidance for designers to consider and refine their own methods and techniques.

Scott Breneman, PhD, PE, SE, WoodWorks

Scott is a licensed Structural Engineer and Professional Engineer in the State of California, a PE in the State of Washington, and Senior Technical Director – Mass Timber in the Project Resources & Solutions Division of WoodWorks. He received bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Florida and a doctorate from Stanford University. Scott has experience with structural design, seismic rehabilitation, and peer review of projects varying from single-family homes to high-rise hospitals. He is a Past-President of the Structural Engineers Association of Central California, and active in many timber and structural engineering design and standards committees. At WoodWorks, he provides project support and education to individuals designing wood buildings and oversees the development of technical educational content.

Ascent Milwaukee: Designing the Tallest Mass Timber Building in the United States

Ascent Milwaukee is one of the most ambitious mass timber high-rise projects in the US so far—a proposed 23-story, 231-unit mixed-use complex that, while receiving positive indications from the City, continues to wind its way through the approval process. In this presentation, the project architect will provide a first-hand review of the design, which includes a mass timber/concrete hybrid superstructure over a multi-level concrete garage. He’ll discuss the project’s impetus, history, and design process, while offering a candid look at technical challenges, enhancements for occupant safety, and the design team’s interaction with authorities having jurisdiction.

Jason Korb, Korb + Associates Architects

Jason Korb is the founder and Principal Architect of Korb + Associates Architects. He has a 20-year history of designing mixed-use and institutional structures in Wisconsin and throughout the midwestern US. He is particularly interested in the power of architecture to positively affect the lives of those in need. Jason received Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Before founding his practice, he worked at Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson and Workshop Architects.

INTRO, Cleveland: Nine Stories of Type IV-B Mass Timber in Cleveland

INTRO, Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio is on track to be one of the first tall timber buildings constructed using the new Type IV-B construction criteria recently approved for the 2021 IBC. In addition to leveraging the allowances of this future code to construct nine stories of mass timber, which hasn’t been prescriptively allowed in previous versions, the project will expose significantly more of the mass timber than the 20% ceiling limits permitted for Type IV-B construction. This presentation by the developer will explore the reasons for choosing mass timber as well as the processes involved in approaching the building department for approval, including the development of a comprehensive fire protection and code-compliance program, enhanced safety features, and additional information presented by the team to gain design conceptual approval from the City of Cleveland Department of Buildings.

Dan Whalen, Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors

Dan leads all aspects of Harbor Bay’s Market Square project in Ohio City, while assisting in acquisitions and development across the Harbor Bay portfolio. Prior to joining Harbor Bay, he held multiple development roles, including Director of Development for Starwood Retail, where he led nearly $200 million in redevelopment projects throughout Starwood’s $7 billion national platform. Dan is a Cleveland native and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he received first team All-America honors as quarterback. He also received his MBA from Case’s Weatherhead School of Management with a focus on Finance and Design.

Not Just Another Condo Building: TMBR and a Smart Construction Revolution

One of the biggest challenges in the design of urban housing is lack of innovation. This isn’t due to a shortage of creative minds or concepts, but the seemingly impossible task of designing urban housing that is economically feasible, sustainable and beautiful. However, opportunities for the increased use of exposed mass timber elements as both structure and finish have provided a means to accomplish these objectives and more. This presentation will take an in-depth look at TMBR, a 10-story mass timber housing project in the North Loop of Minneapolis that is leading an evolution toward unique urban living environments. The principal architect will share his insights on all aspects of the project, including motivators, challenges, solutions, and design decisions that are leading TMBR to success.

Colin Oglesbay, D/O Architects

Architects, an interdisciplinary design studio with a commitment to design excellence through the integration of buildings and landscapes. Colin studied landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and received his Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. His work, research and writing focus on new and innovative methods to link nature and buildings. He has written about these ideas for T/here: Journal of Architecture + Landscape, Scape Magazine, and Architecture MN Magazine. He teaches at the University of Minnesota and guest lectures at Dunwoody College. With over 20 years of experience in the field of landscape and architecture, he has led projects ranging in scale from integrated campus planning to off-the-grid outhouses that purify local water.


March 11
8:15 am - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Venue SIX10
Chicago, IL United States

WoodWorks offers a wide range of in-person and online training opportunities, from Wood Design Symposiums that include concurrent seminars and a trade show, to half-day workshops, lunchtime seminars and webinars.