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Michigan State University STEM Teaching and Learning Facility

East Lansing, MI
  • Bldg system

    Mass Timber

  • No. Of Stories


  • Sq. footage


More than 7,000 Michigan State University students walk through the doors of this building each week, giving MSU a chance to raise awareness of an innovative and sustainable building system while providing an enriching learning environment. The layout consists of two mass timber wings flanking the north and south ends of a repurposed power plant. The south wing houses “wet” teaching laboratories for biology, chemistry and material science. The north wing houses “dry” teaching labs for physics and computer science. The hybrid design features three stories of glulam post-and-beam construction with steel diagonal bracing, and a structural steel penthouse for mechanical equipment. While the roof deck was built with 3-ply cross-laminated timber (CLT), designers chose atypical 4-ply panels for the floors instead of the more traditional 5-ply. This approach allowed them to preserve ceiling space and reduce the volume of wood required while still meeting span and vibration requirements. In the power plant, CLT structural floor decks were used anywhere new walking surfaces were needed, further linking it to the STEM wings.

Watch a video that interviewed technical experts with experience using mass timber in lab environments to set the record straight on how to implement it best—and hear their views on why mass timber is a good choice for labs and life sciences buildings. 

  • Construction Type:


  • Building Type:


  • Material Types:

    Mass Timber, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam)

Companies Involved:
  • Ellenzweig


  • IDS - Integrated Design Solutions

    Project Architect

  • IDS - Integrated Design Solutions


  • SDI Structures

    Structural Engineer

  • Granger Construction

    General Contractor

  • Chistman Constructors


  • Rothoblaas


  • Sansin

    Timber finishes

Individuals Involved:
  • Jeffrey Johnson


  • Peter Heeringa

    Structural Engineer

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