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Vintage Meets Modern: Glulam and Artius story in Goa

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Artius was tasked with constructing a two-storey building on a 6,500 square-feet site using glulam/mass timber construction techniques. The site was characterized by high wind speeds and loads, and was located in Seismic Zone III, which necessitated the use of glulam beams with specific cross-sectional dimensions to ensure structural stability.



Designed by architect Akshat Bhatt of Architecture Discipline, Artius was tasked to create the framework. Artius used the post and beam construction method, using post anchors to attach a Glulam column beam frame structure to a concrete foundation. The required structural frames were assembled on-site and connected with preinstalled metal connectors and horizontal glulam sections. The gaps between the columns and beams were filled with stud frames and Rockwool for sound and heat insulation.


Mass Timber Structure
Mass Timber Structure

Canadian Douglas Fir wood with a specific Machine Stress Rating (MSR) measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) was chosen as the wood of choice for the project. It’s a robust and long-lasting wood type that offers excellent stability, is widely available, has a high resistance to fire, and has a stunning appearance. The MSR grading system was used to measure the strength of lumber to ensure that the wood used in construction was up to the required standards.

Connectors like knee plates and rib plates were used to connect the vertical and horizontal members of the frame. Knee plates of a certain size were used to connect the vertical and horizontal members of the frame, while rib plates of a certain size connected the beams to the columns.


Overall, Artius carefully selected materials and methods to ensure that the building was sturdy, safe, and aesthetically pleasing. The use of glulam and Canadian Douglas Fir wood, as well as the installation of connectors, glass cladding, skylights, and waterproofing membrane, added to the overall appeal of the building while ensuring that it met all necessary standards and requirements.

Now, Glulam can sound complicated, but it’s actually a pretty simple process. The first step is to plan small cross-sectional boards of timber accurately. These boards are then glued together under pressure and heat to create an engineered timber component. The resulting laminates are oriented with parallel grain along the horizontal axis, and higher-grade timbers are placed on the outer flange zone of the component to achieve greater strength. Finally, the laminates are joined using the finger jointing technique, creating a continuous structure.


Glulam Process in Artius' State-of-the-Art Factory
Glulam Process in Artius' State-of-the-Art Factory

As far as the production process is concerned, kiln-dried lumber is selected and stress-tested for optimal performance. Then, the pieces are planned and finger-jointed to ensure a tight fit, resulting in a continuous lamination that is both strong and stable. Next, the individual pieces are assembled into a single laminated member using a hydraulic press that distributes the adhesive evenly throughout the lamination. Lastly, for exterior applications, glulam is treated with pressure to enhance its durability and resistance to weathering. This increases the strength and lifespan of the material, making it perfect for outdoor structures like bridges, pavilions, and other exposed elements.


Advantages of Using Glulam for Beach Home & Mountain Homes

Innovative design options


When designing a building, it’s important to make sure that it fits in with the surroundings to create a visually pleasing design that complements the natural environment. This is where glued laminated timber (glulam) comes in handy, especially when building in natural settings like beaches and mountains. Glulam has a natural wood finish that blends in perfectly with the environment, making it the perfect choice for creating structures that blend in harmoniously with the natural landscape. Timber construction stands out as the ideal choice, inherently associated with the beauty of nature and rustic charm, making it the perfect complement to the greenery and serene surroundings of the area. With its natural texture and warm tones, timber harmonizes seamlessly with its environment, and exudes a cozy and inviting feel that is sure to enhance the overall aesthetic of any building.

Glulam is also a fantastic material for designing structures due to its high load-bearing capacity and low dead weight. This means that architects can create narrow and elegant beams and columns of various shapes and sizes, including straight, curved, or arched. The high strength-to-weight ratio of glulam allows for greater flexibility in design, which means that architects have more creative freedom to experiment with unique and innovative shapes and curves. Furthermore, glulam can be easily shaped and curved to create organic and natural forms that blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment.


Glulam's superior strength-to-weight ratio allows for greater design flexibility, giving architects more creative freedom to experiment with unique and innovative shapes and curves.
Glulam's superior strength-to-weight ratio allows for greater design flexibility

In beach environments, glulam construction can create structures that blend with the sandy coastline and the ocean waves. For example, the Surf House in Denmark, designed by Danish architecture firm Linear scape, uses glulam to create a curvilinear form that mimics the shape of a wave. The natural wood finish of the glulam creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that blends with the beach environment.


Surf House in Denmark, designed by Danish architecture firm Linear scape
Surf House in Denmark, designed by Danish architecture firm Linear scape

In mountainous areas, glulam construction can create structures that complement the rugged terrain and the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. For example, the Saunalahti School in Finland, designed by Verstas Architects, uses glulam to create a structure that blends with the forested mountain environment. The natural wood finish of the glulam creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere that complements the surrounding trees and foliage.


Saunalahti School in Finland, designed by Verstas Architects
Saunalahti School in Finland, designed by Verstas Architects

A Sustainable Approach to Healthy Living Spaces


When it comes to building comfortable and healthy living spaces, glued laminated timber (glulam) is a great option to consider. That’s because the wood has a unique ability to regulate temperature and humidity, and its surface temperature is similar to that of the human body, which creates a warm and welcoming feeling for those who occupy the space. This is especially important in the face of climate change and rising temperatures, as it’s important to create living spaces that are able to cope with warmer temperatures without relying on energy-intensive cooling systems. Studies have shown that living in wooden homes or buildings can have a positive impact on people’s health and well-being.


For example, residents of wooden houses have reported better sleep quality, less stress, and less fatigue compared to those living in concrete houses. Patients in wooden hospitals also experience lower blood pressure and heart rates and require less pain medication than those in hospitals with concrete interiors. There are many glulam construction projects that focus on creating comfortable and healthy living spaces. For example, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Canada was built to showcase the potential of wood as a sustainable and healthy building material. The HoHo Vienna Tower in Austria, one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world, was also designed to promote sustainable living and healthy indoor environments.


HoHo Wien, Austria | SIGA
HoHo Wien, Austria | SIGA

Reduced cost of construction


Well, when it comes to reducing construction costs, glued laminated timber or glulam might just be the answer. See, glulam is a lightweight material that is much lighter than steel or concrete, which means it can significantly reduce transportation costs. Glulam beams and columns are prefabricated off-sites, which further reduces transportation costs because they can be manufactured in a controlled environment with high precision. Plus, since they are lighter, fewer trucks are needed to transport them to the construction site, making Glulam a more cost-effective option overall.


Wooden Beams and Columns
Wooden Beams and Columns

Protects the built environment


When it comes to protecting the built environment, glulam construction is a great option because it’s a sustainable material that requires less energy to produce and transport, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects. Additionally, because glulam is a lightweight and prefabricated material, it reduces the amount of waste generated during construction and helps to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment.


To sum it up…


Glued laminated timber (glulam) is a perfect material for building in natural settings like beaches and mountains because it has a natural wood finish that blends in with the environment, creating a harmonious structure with the natural landscape. Glulam’s high load-bearing capacity and low dead weight allow architects to design narrow and elegant beams and columns of various shapes and sizes, including straight, curved, or arched, resulting in more creative freedom to experiment with unique and innovative shapes and curves.


Additionally, glulam’s ability to regulate temperature and humidity makes it an excellent option for creating comfortable and healthy living spaces. Furthermore, glulam’s lightweight and prefabricated properties make it an economical choice because it reduces transportation costs, generates less waste during construction, and has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials. Lastly, glulam construction helps to protect the built environment by promoting sustainable building practices. Therefore, the advantages of using glulam in beach homes and mountain homes are innovative design options, a sustainable approach to healthy living spaces, reduced construction costs, and protection of the built environment.


First glulam post and beam two storey house in the country.
First glulam post and beam two storey house in the country.


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