University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

University of Montana Franke College of Forestry Commons HDR

University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

A Living Laboratory for Research and Teaching 

The new academic building for the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation (FCFC) will co-locate facilities currently located in seven separate buildings on campus. It will house wet and dry labs, active learning spaces, a lecture hall, faculty and graduate student offices, and a rooftop research greenhouse.

Inspired by the composition of a tree, core elements are placed at the centre and growth areas are situated on the perimeter. The structural approach is a hybrid of two mass timber approaches: slab and bearing wall and post, beam and slab. A slab and bearing wall honeycomb surrounding three open post and beam open floor towers rise like three trees next to each other. The core consists of research and teaching spaces with high ceilings, while the perimeter is composed of small, flexible work “cells.” Situated between the cellular components are mezzanines accessed by stairs and elevators, resulting in a highly dynamic interior.

The structural organisation and construction method promotes a ‘long-life/loose fit’ model, enabling both flexibility and adaptability over time. Smart energy management systems will allow transient perimeter spaces to act as a thermal buffer to the high-energy consuming cores. The building has a number of sustainable features, including thermochromic glazing, which changes from clear to tinted, based on environmental conditions. The aspirational goal is a highly didactic, living laboratory for on-going research and teaching.

The building will chart new territory in Design for Deconstruction (DfD). DfD extends the life cycle of the building and in turn, its long-term carbon sequestration. This will achieve the goal of zero embodied carbon, or carbon balancing. The mass timber structural system supports FCFC’s on-going research and forestry conservation efforts related to curating healthy and resilient forests, carbon storage, and vibrancy to rural communities in Montana.

University of Montana Franke College of Forestry Commons HDR
Client
University of Montana
Location

Missoula, MT
United States

Size
75,000 SF (6,967 m²)