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Case Studies

1510 Webster

16 stories of mass timber change the game for affordable housing

Located in the heart of downtown Oakland, 1510 Webster is 19 stories, 16 of which are mass timber. Designed using the tall wood code provisions in the 2021 IBC, the 187-foot-tall project includes 179,020-sf of combined housing, offices, ground-level retail/commercial space, and amenities.  

Project developer oWOW’s goal was to provide affordable housing for “the missing middle,” or households earning between 80 and 120 percent of the area’s median income (AMI). They achieved this with mass timber, and more than 15% of the 222 residential rental units are designated as affordable for households earning 80% of the AMI.

1510 Webster / oWow / DCI Engineers / Photo Andrew Nelson
1510 Webster / oWow / DCI Engineers / Photo Flor Projects

Saving Money, Saving Time

The team also challenged the norm that mass timber is best suited for projects where the wood can be left exposed. 

oWOW designed 1510 Webster using veneer-based mass timber products, including mass ply panels (MPP) and mass ply laminate (MPL) columns, in an innovative point-supported beam configuration. It is the first prescriptive Type IV-A building in the U.S., and the requirements for this construction type meant they had to cover all the wood with three layers of gypsum wallboard. However, the choice to use mass timber still allowed oWOW to realize a $30 million savings in net project cost over that of a traditional concrete project of this scale.

“Wood is certainly a beautiful, sustainable material, which is important to us,” says oWOW President Andy Ball. “But our real target was speed of construction and cost, and that’s why we used mass timber for 1510 Webster. And that’s why we were also okay with covering it all up. I think people need to think beyond the beauty of wood and accept the fact that mass timber is just a great building material.”

Download the case study to read more from the team on realized cost-savings, structural testing, construction speed, and sustainability.

Project Details

Location: Oakland, California

Stories: 19 (16 stories of mass timber plus a one-story steel penthouse over a two-level concrete podium) 

Size: 179,020 square feet

Construction Type: Type IV-A over a Type I-A podium

Completed: Spring 2025 (scheduled)

Project Team

Owner: oWOW

Architect: oWOW Design

Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers

General Contractor: oWOW Construction

Mass Timber Installer: Webcor Timber

Mass Timber Manufacturer: Freres Engineered Wood

Column Contractors: Rothoblaas

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