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December 9, 2021

DIALOG pursues global patents for structural system to bring mass timber technology to high rise buildings

In a significant step to advance a design concept awarded as the winner of Fast Company’s “2021 World Changing Ideas” in architecture earlier this year, DIALOG has officially filed for the patent of its Hybrid Timber Floor System (HTFS) today. Once approved, the system could lead to the introduction of mass timber structural solutions into the supertall tower category, thus significantly reducing the environmental impact of tall building development in high density urban areas.

The patents have been filed by the international design firm in Canada, the United States, the European Union, Australia and China.

The Hybrid Timber Floor System (HTFS) combines cross-laminated timber panels with steel, and concrete to build high rise towers with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. When incorporated with other smart building technologies, such as photovoltaic panels, algae bioreactors, or other renewable energy solutions, towers as tall as 105-stories could achieve carbon neutrality.

“Floor plates typically comprise approximately 70% of building material utilized in high-rise towers. By focusing our talents and resources on creating more innovative floor plate solutions like this one, we believe that we can make a major dent in the environmental footprint of the built environment in the not-so-distant future,” said Craig Applegath, AIA, a founding Partner at DIALOG and one of the project’s key leaders.

With post-tensioned steel cables encased in concrete bands and embedded into Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels, DIALOG’s HTFS will allow for a 40-foot (or 12-metre) column-free span, where standard CLT design systems currently span just three-quarters of that distance. With the novel combination of these materials and its unique features, the HTFS could be deployed in buildings, around the world, to dramatic heights.

“This HTFS will maximize the use of sustainably harvested wood in high-rise construction in the most cost efficient, energy efficient, and elegant manner. In doing so, the design will also give occupants access to sustainable, beautiful, exposed natural wood in their spaces,” said Thomas Wu, a structural engineer and Partner with DIALOG.

In addition to the Fast Company award, the details of the hybrid floor system were recently published in a significant industry research paper by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, a preview of which can be found here.

Once the patents are approved, the structural system will then require localized approvals to coincide with area code requirements around fire, health, and life safety. While awaiting patent approval, DIALOG is working in partnership with global construction firm EllisDon to develop scaled panels for thorough structural testing.

“The hybrid panel presents a unique value proposition allowing for carbon sustainability, the ability for offsite prefabrication, and long-span exposed ceilings desired by many commercial tenants,” said Mark Gaglione, P.E. the Director of Building and Material Sciences with EllisDon, “We are excited to be working with DIALOG to help make this concept idea a reality as soon as possible,”

DIALOG is a multi-disciplinary design practice incorporating architects, urban planners, interior designers, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, and landscape architects. From four studios in Canada and one in the US, DIALOG designs arts and culture, urban vibrancy, health and wellness, transportation, education, residential, retail, commercial and mixed-use solutions. DIALOG has been designing positive change in communities since 1960.

ABOUT EllisDon
EllisDon is a leading construction and building services company that completes more than $3.5 billion worth of contracts annually, in every market sector and across the globe. Over the last 65 years, they have grown from being a general contractor to a multi-faceted company that can deliver any aspect of a project.

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