Engineered Wood: Specifying Glulam for Every Architectural Typology

Discover the elegance of glued laminated structures.

Eric Baldwin Eric Baldwin

Find the perfect engineered wood products for your next project through Architizer’s new community marketplace for building-products: Click here for more informationAre you a manufacturer of engineered wood looking to connect with architects? Click here.

There are many competing ideas on the driving force behind design. While there stands the popular form-over-function or function-over-form argument, engineered wood advocates are saying something else entirely. They celebrate space and structure while highlighting individual elements and their construction. It’s the best of both worlds.

Glulam, short for glued laminated timber, is an engineered wood composite that consists of layers of dimensioned timber bound together with high strength adhesives. Glulam beams and columns come in many shapes and sizes. Because they are uniform, stable and predictable, engineering Glulam into a building is not just cost effective, but enables the creation of open spaces that would be difficult to achieve using regular wood frames. The following collection illustrates how this structural material can be utilized for a wide array of different building types, from homes and offices to churches and educational facilities.


engineered woodengineered woodScale of Ply by NOJI, Dublin, Ireland

NOJI Architects showed off just how stunning plywood and Glulam can be in the remodel of this Victorian two-story Residence in Dublin, Ireland. The once dark and tight space was expanded to maximize natural light and offer visual connections to the outside.

On the ground floor, glulam beams frame a geometry of triangular wood modules supporting the story above. The engineered wood members are carried over to the side, creating a large expansion for the kitchen. In one section, the plywood is pulled away and a large skylight is fitted in its place. Visual interest is not the only thing achieved through the use of this natural material: Because much of the structure can be prefabricated the accuracy, quality, the construction time is greatly improved.


engineered woodengineered woodMountain Restaurant Björk by Murman arkitekter AB, Hemavan, Sweden

This mountain restaurant in Hemavan, Sweden sits up near the tree line of the Lapland Mountains. The building acts as a landmark that reveals its construction from both the inside and outside. The building’s connection to nature goes beyond its striking form poking out from the snow.

The building is based on practicality, the floors consist of durable and slip resistant pinewood outfitted with carpet, the furniture is crafted pinewood benches and tables, and the overall form is triangular to allow snow to slide off. Sweden’s largest producer of glulam, Martinsons Group provided the building’s structure. The structure is pronounced inside and out and consists of a system of glulam beams passing through the space, the subtle variation of the wood used add warmth and interest all while staying honest to its properties.


engineered woodengineered woodSimple Headquarters by Hacker, Portland, OR, United State

This four-story bank headquarter in Portland Oregon is designed with the idea of home in mind. The Architect caters to the different levels of office engagement and activity by creating a variety of spaces that include quiet rooms, war rooms, and individualized secure offices.

A minimal material palette emphasizes the engineered wood structure throughout the office. Glulam beam are seen to extend and cross over the ceiling. With the use of fabric on tracks, allow the open office space to be divided into smaller spaces and nodes. On the upper three floors glulam beams are brought down to create seating as banquette style benches, which further brings a sense of informality and warmth to the office.


engineered woodengineered woodÅlgård Church by LINK arkitektur, Ålgård, Norway

Ålgård Church is a lively and eye catching religious center in Norway. The architect was tasked with creating an icon within the community that houses as many functional spaces under one roof as possible while leaving one large sacral space undisturbed.

The program which includes a classroom, an office, and a café are all pushed partially into the ground leaving the entire upper floor open for the Church space. The Formal character of the building is the modern interpretation of a church vault, clad with finely detailed painted wood. The sculptured form seen from the outside is supported by an exposed structural network of triangles made from interconnecting Glulam beams. The natural wood tones of the glulam beams soften the artificial lights just as well as the natural light coming in from the skylights.


engineered woodengineered woodMETLA Forest Research Centre by SARC Architects, Joensuu, Finland

This forest and wooden material research building makes up part of the Joensuu University Campus in Finland and sits within walking distance to the Joensuu city center. SARC understood the value in building with Finish wood products and worked to incorporate it as much as possible in the design.

From the outside the building looks like a crafted wood box featuring long vertical engineered wood pieces. When venturing into the courtyard the building begins to reveal itself, the wall holding the entrance sees an expansive glass and black metal curtain system that begin to tell of its wooden interior structure. Once inside, the fir glulam beams, box slabs and grouped beam-columns holding up the roof are take over and frame a dynamic structure within the center’s interior.

Find the engineered wood products for your next project through Architizer’s new community marketplace for building-products: Click here for more informationAre you a manufacturer of engineered wood looking to connect with architects? Click here.