Architecture and design experts with the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture recently met with timber and forestry experts for a day-long conference intended to examine the feasibility of adopting a new timber technology that produces structural wood products approaching the strength of steel.
Cross-laminated timber, commonly referred to as CLT, is a manufacturing technique which combines layers of timber, cut to common dimensions such as 2’x6’, into extremely strong finished materials that can be used in flooring, exterior walls and other building applications.
The “Innovate Arkansas” conference, held Aug. 19 at the U of A Systems offices in Little Rock, was a combined effort on the part of the U of A Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at Monticello and the Arkansas Forestry Resources Center. About 80 individuals involved in the fields of architecture, engineering, building and forestry attended.
Philip Tappe, director of Forest Resources for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said architects and engineers within the university system had initially ignited interest in making CLT a more viable construction material in the region.
“They’re really interested in getting a new industry in the state to produce cross-laminated timber,” Tappe said. “And we’re certainly supportive of it, but our mission for this meeting was to inform all the attendees about the forest resources that are available in Arkansas, and its current status.