Eastern Washington University’s Catalyst Building in Downtown Spokane Washington the Newest Mass Timber Building in the U.S.

The city of Spokane Washington was founded in 1873, surrounded by some North America’s most productive forests. However, until recently Spokane has never really focused on timber products in construction. That has changed. Eastern Washington University has just moved into the Catalyst Building, a five-story, 150,000-square-foot structure, the first tall wood office building in Washington state. Sunshine pours through the $40 million building’s large windows and bathes the wood beams and laminated wood floor and ceiling panels. The Catalyst was built by Katerra, a construction company based in Menlo Park, California, and is the newest of 384 large “mass timber” buildings in the United States. The first was built in Montana in 2011, and according to industry figures, 500 more are under construction or planned. The cross-laminated wood panels used for Catalyst were manufactured at Katerra’s 270,000-square-foot automated plant on the outskirts of the city. Both the building and the plant are at the leading edge of the fast-growing U.S. market for tall wood buildings constructed of the laminated panels, beams and columns that the industry calls mass timber.

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