May 28, 2010

Water Reclamation Building Showcases Timber Framing

Rock River Water Reclamation District attempts LEED Gold status for renewable framing

Most reclamation buildings look like industrial type structures, but the new administration building for the Rock River Water Reclamation District in Rockford, Ill., has graceful curved glued laminated roof beams that “greatly enhance the building image,” according to the architect and contractor.

The size of the structure is 30,000 sq ft on the first floor and 9,000 sq ft in the basement. The curved beams are 127 ft long, 54 in. deep and 10 in. wide.

The Reclamation District is attempting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status because of its renewable timber framing.

In addition to the large glue-laminated timber roof framing, the finish roof material is 4 ft x 6 ft glue-laminated Southern Pine decking, all exposed on the interior.

The building exterior is brick and stone with a standing seam metal roof over the laminated decking.

“The curved laminated beams and decking provide a dynamic image that we wanted for the main entrance,” said John Heimbach, lead designer. “The laminated decking worked well to form the curved surface and enhance the appearance.”

The main lobby includes a large Koi pond, intended as an educational feature. It exhibits the regional ecosystem as well as regional fish.

Many designers note that the furring, sheathing and finishing often required with steel framing can be eliminated with laminated timber construction.

This means faster construction with wood at competitive costs. And, unlike steel, concrete or other materials that deplete natural resources, wood is a renewable resource with 6 million trees planted each day in the U.S.

Engineered wood structures are also gaining in popularity because laminated timber materials arrive at the job site pre-finished, so this delivered product is the finished component. Other types of framing members arrive on site in raw form, and require additional cladding to create the final product.

Credits include: owners: Rock River Water Reclamation District, contractor: Scandroli Construction Co. Inc., architects/engineers: Larson and Darby Group, laminated timber beams and decking plus erection: Sentinel Structures Inc.