Silicon Valley invests in timber architects for new design-build model
This article in CITYLAB shows how Silicon Valley has recognized an opportunity in the cumbersome way we currently go about designing, bidding and building and is creating a new, vertically integrated model that promises greater efficiency and greater accountability.
On May 30, a Menlo Park company called Katerra announced that it had acquired Michael Green Architecture, a 25-person architecture firm in Vancouver, British Columbia. On June 12, the company revealed that it had bought another, larger architecture firm, Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent. Last September, it announced plans to open a new factory that will make panels of cross-laminated timber, a kind of high-tech structural wood. It intends to open several more plants—plus warehouses for supplies—around the U.S. Katerra was founded in 2015. Initially, the buildings it built were designed by outside architects. In 2016, the company hired an architect, Craig Curtis, to head up a design division. With Curtis’ team and the two architecture firms it just gobbled up, it now has enough manpower to design buildings itself.
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