Strength, Stiffness, Sustainability: Timber Innovation in UMass Design Building

Date: May 8, 2019 5:30pm
Location: SGH New York
Speaker(s): Nancy Varney Jeffrey Langlois
sgh nyc

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
550 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10018

5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Registration & Refreshments
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Presentation & Discussion
7:00 - 7:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception

aia logoParticipants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for their attendance. Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments and hors d'oeuvres. Space is limited.


The John W. Olver Design Building at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, creatively captures the strength of mass timber, concrete, and steel and exposes the structural elements for all to see. The structure combines the sustainability and performance benefits of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels with the durability and stiffness of concrete, and features glue-laminated (glulam) timber and steel beams in an innovative hybrid floor system. Other structural elements include glulam columns and braced frames, CLT shear walls, a system of three-dimensional glulam and steel rod trusses, and a full-story steel truss that supports a three-dimensional truss system and suspended CLT stairway. In this presentation, we will share experiences from this award-winning project.

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Appreciate how exposed timber elements can help emphasize an owner’s focus on sustainable construction.
  • Discuss how a wood-concrete composite floor system can provide the strength and stiffness required for longer spans traditionally achieved with concrete and steel construction.
  • Understand challenges related to connections between structural elements of varying materials in innovative ways.
  • Recognize the research and testing required to demonstrate how new structural systems can meet the general intent of state building codes.


nancy varney

Nancy L. Varney, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Staff I, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Nancy Varney is a member of SGH’s Repair and Rehabilitation group, where she investigates and designs new and existing structures of various scale and material types. She is experienced in the development of strut-and-tie models and full-scale experimental testing programs for reinforced and prestressed concrete members. Nancy also teaches a structural systems course and wood and masonry design at Northeastern University.

jeff langlois

Jeff D. Langlois, P.E., Senior Project Manager, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Jeff Langlois is a structural engineer working in the design and repair of all types of buildings, specializing in light-frame wood and heavy timber construction. His expertise includes designing buildings employing engineered wood and mass timber components, evaluating existing timber structures, in situ visual stress grading of historic timber elements, and investigating distressed architectural wood products. Whether for small adaptive reuse fit-outs or multi-story new construction, Jeff’s approach to consulting is client- and team-focused toward developing creative and efficient engineering solutions.


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