The Beam on Farmer
A first for sustainable construction
Despite the clear sustainable benefits of cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction, developers and building owners have been reluctant to move away from more traditional concrete and steel buildings. Partnering with Mortenson, RSP’s team saw the incredible potential of using CLT at The Beam on Farmer, a 184,000-SF, 5-story office building in Tempe and the first CLT building in Arizona.
CLT uses sustainably-sourced materials and renewable resources, making it a greener, lighter choice. Sustainability and wellness are intrinsic to this construction model—because the material is so lightweight and requires an innovative manufacturing and design process, CLT buildings can sequester as much carbon as a concrete building creates.
Typically, one of the drawbacks to CLT construction is that it requires a denser column grid than concrete or steel. In this case, the team incorporated deeper beams into the design so that the column grid is almost as sparse as a typical office building and gives the space an open, airy quality that matches the warmth of the wood and showcases the beautiful pattern created by the ceiling beams.
CLT isn’t the only innovation at The Beam. The under-floor, low-pressure air system is among the first in CLT construction. At only 8 inches high, down from 24 inches in a traditional raised floor system, the low pressure technology drives air to the perimeter of the building. This increases thermal comfort, uses less energy and makes the system more flexible for users.
Aesthetically, this allows for higher ceiling heights without the need for tenants to install drop ceilings to hide the air ducts.
The Beam may be the first CLT project in Tempe, but the City anticipates that it won’t be the last. Mortenson is already scheduled to move in as the ground-floor tenant and other tech-focused companies are expected to lease the upper floors as Tempe grows into its reputation as an innovation hub.