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Millbrae Rec Center

Hybrid Solution of Timber and Steel was a Good Call for Rec Center

The Millbrae Recreation Center project is one of the first cross-laminated timber (CLT) projects in the Bay Area. And the design took advantage of its site and local environment with a structure that met the multi-dimensional needs of the Millbrae community, according to architects at ELS.

“The two-story building is comprised of three major forms: a tall entry lobby on the west end, a central main building containing classrooms and recreational uses, and a grand community room on the east end facing the existing park and overlooking San Francisco Bay,” said Anthony Grand, ELS Design director. “We tied the project closely to its surroundings through multiple park walkway connections, a balance of planting and hardscape, outdoor play areas, social spaces and expansive views.”

This is ELS’ first hybrid CLT project, according to William Gordon, ELS director of interior architecture. “Using CLT slabs in the building for Level 2 and the roof, we thought not only about what is exposed but about what is hidden,” Gordon says. “Of course, the placement of all the visible electrical conduit was carefully considered. But we also planned for the additional thickness of flooring underlayment to lessen the transfer of sound between floors.”

Structural engineers at Forell|Elsesser also took advantage of CLT’s structural performance to help meet seismic requirements.

The hybrid solution of timber and steel was a unique one, says James Woodbury, Blach Construction vice president.

“Knowing that this has been long-awaited and much needed resource for the community of Millbrae, our primary objective was to deliver a durable and sustainable structure in record time,” says Woodbury. “Taking on this hybrid solution of cross-laminated timber and prefabricated steel was a revolutionary approach to a design-build project, and had significant positive impact on the construction schedule. It was ultimately the right choice.”


Inside The Story

Anthony Grand

About Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown has decades of experience in corporate communications and marketing management with organizations including Coldwell Banker Residential, Grubb & Ellis, Marcus & Millichap, NAIOP, SIOR and ALM. In those positions, she worked in conjunction with chief executive officers and chief marketing officers to create corporate messaging, cohesive branding standards, strategic marketing plans and thought pieces. Brown is a frequent speaker at industry events and an editing adjunct professor for an online course. She has a master’s degree in mass communications from San Jose State University.

  • ◦Development