The first-ever, large-scale structure supported by soft maple glulam beams is featured as a case study on The American Hardwood Information Center website. The case study features the 98,000-square-foot Forest Resources Building at Pennsylvania State University. It is the first documented use of soft maple glulam beams as opposed to industry-standard softwood glulams.
The soft maple glulams were designed using hardwood glulam engineering standards developed by a team of Penn State researchers, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service.
University engineers fabricated five soft maple beams—three feet deep and up to 50 feet long—that carry the entire weight of the roof.
Local hardwood was the project’s driving force. While the team did not seek FSC certification for the wood used, the project received credit for LEED-NC MRc5.1 and MRc5.2 because regional sourcing played such a big role.