North Wood is a proposal for The City Above the City international design competition hosted by MetsaWood, a wood products company, with the requirement that their LVL products be specified in the design, and that the proposal sits atop an existing structure.
North Wood is a high-density wood tower concept proposed for a historically significant 1920s two-story concrete and masonry building in the business district of Minneapolis. The existing two-story building was over-structured in anticipation of 8 additional concrete floors that were never constructed. A lighter wood structure could provide up to 20 additional stories. Respecting the historical street façade while tapping into the most robust columns of the existing structural grid, the addition is stepped back one bay from each façade. Select floorplates are extended past the structural grid to provide outdoor amenity space and open views of the public commons to the east, the nearby pedestrian Nicollet Mall to the west, and the downtown skyline to the north.
Structurally, a wood shear core extends from the street level up through 7 floors of hotel, 11 floors of residential condominiums, and two double-height amenity floors. Floor/roof diaphragms free span from the core boundary to the structural façade. Rather than sizing larger vertical members for a consistent grid, secondary vertical members are densified in prescribed areas for dead/wind loading, increased privacy, and solar shading. The resulting façade composition is the result of testing in depth, this context. When applied elsewhere – whether across the globe or across the street—it would have an alternative appearance.