How to turn a tree into a T3 building

Designing buildings with a conscience

T3 RiNo - Denver
Caption T3 RiNo - Denver

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Hines created the model for developing a T3 building—which stands for Timber, Transit, and Technology—in 2012.

It was first deployed in 2016 in Minneapolis' North Loop on its all-timber office building. It was the first major multi-story U.S. office building to be constructed of wood in the last 100 years and took just 9.5 weeks to install. T3 then became Hines’ prototype for the use of mass timber and the building model for positive change in office developments.

The inspiration for T3’s design came from the vintage brick and timber buildings in Minneapolis’ nearby Warehouse Historic District, complementing the aesthetic that was built in the authentic adaptive reuse buildings from the 1920s. T3's design now offers all the benefits of modern construction while maintaining the charm and the “cool factor” that appeals to many of today’s urban office tenants.

Hines continues to invest in it as a building type that appeals to tenants seeking an authentic, sustainable and modern officing experience. Each successive project has only gotten better with optimized mechanical systems and different structural grids and ceiling heights implemented.

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With 26 T3s built or under construction, there are now different architectural expressions of these buildings that fit for each community.

For example, one of the latest in Hines’ series of creative modern workplaces built with the visionary T3 concept is T3 Bayside in Toronto. Designed by world-renowned Danish architecture firm 3XN, T3 Bayside encompasses more of a lighter, airy aesthetic. This next-generation nature-based design approach connects people to nature with the goal of improving the well-being of employees by improving health, elevating mood, and enhancing productivity.

In fact, in 2022, the project won the award for “Excellence in Commercial or Institutional Design” at the Waterfront Design Review Panel Awards. The panel noted, “T3 Bayside's design represents an exceptionally ambitious and provocative commercial building. The project’s use of mass timber is elegantly supported by its simple massing, punctuated by a string of double-height social spaces skillfully woven through the office floors. The innovation in mass timber is much needed as we grapple with the economic and environmental impacts of traditional construction methods. This building is a seminal project for the Toronto waterfront that sets a clear pathway for future high-quality commercial buildings in Canada.”

Additionally, T3 RiNo in Denver is the first T3 where Hines has taken the timber to the exterior of the building, meaning the columns on the exterior of the building are exposed timber instead of being clad in a protective material. This was a design decision made with the architect team, Pickard Chilton and DLR group, to create a unique street presence, particularly for an office building.

While it is the early phases of the use of mass timber in large-scale commercial construction the evolution of these buildings will only continue to grow.

To learn more about how our T3 building model drives positive change, visit here:

T3: Timber, Transit, Technology