LEVER Architecture has received considerable attention since the fall of 2015; that was when its scheme for Framework, a 12-story mixed-use building, won the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Tall Wood Prize. If all goes as planned, the 145-foot-high building, slated for completion in early 2019 in the firm’s home city of Portland, Oregon, will be the country’s first wood high-rise and the tallest all mass timber building in North America. But for Thomas Robinson, the 48-year-old architect who founded the office in 2009, the significance of the project is broader than the adjectives “first” or “tallest.” Framework speaks to the essence of LEVER’s work, which reconsiders how buildings are made.
The tower follows on the heels of Albina Yard, a four-story mass timber multi-use building in North Portland where LEVER has its offices. On the front facade, each floor appears subtly skewed and cantilevers slightly beyond the one below. It served as the testing ground for many of the technologies and concepts that will be used at Framework, including the off-site precision fabrication of glulam and cross-laminated timber elements.
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