Mass Timber Construction

Chris Patano on January 14, 2016

The University of Idaho Athletic Department and Patano Studio Architecture have been working together to develop a concept for a 4,800-5,000 seat basketball and volleyball arena on the main campus just north of the Kibbie Dome. The organization of the arena is based on the original ethos of college athletics; seating close to the court, students front and center, an intimate scale that provides a collegiate atmosphere for players and spectators. The 79,000 sf facility features a Performance Court with fixed seating, a Practice Gymnasium, Conference Center, Athletic Department Offices and Team Locker Rooms. A striking feature of the design, the main mass timber colonnade/entrance is integrated with the concourse that circles the Performance Court creating the social gathering space with simultaneous views of the campus and court.

The structural concept for the University of Idaho Arena is a mass timber building that features the forest industries of the state. Mass timber structures embody carbon, utilize a regional material and feature a structurally versatile material that has significant visual impact. The Idaho Arena announces its presence on campus with a large wood and glass colonnade/entrance that is structured with massive LVL double columns, CLT roof decking over glu-lam beams. The main Performance Court space is constructed from glu-lam beams, 4 main wood trusses with CLT roof diaphragms, wall diaphragms and dimensional lumber framing. The seating configuration is cast-in-place concrete at the lower bowl and pre-cast concrete risers for the upper level seating.

The exterior skin is composed of metal panels, wood panels, 18” steel fins for sun control and large glass curtain walls at the main entry space. Natural light filters into the main space through clerestories and through strategically placed skylights and glazing in the Practice Gymnasium and Conference Center. Wood is utilized and featured in all areas of the arena. Educational Signage throughout the building tells the story of the wood, where it was harvested, what species, how it was utilized and what industry produced and provided the material.

The University of Idaho is currently entering the fundraising phase of the project. The Mass Timber narrative is compelling and generating widespread attention for the project. We see great potential for the project with the support of the Idaho Forest Products Commission and the Softwood Lumber Board.