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Multi-Storey Timber-Based Buildings: An International Survey of Case-Studies with Five or More Storeys Over the Last Twenty Years
Since the early 2000s, there has been a steady and heterogeneous proliferation throughout several western countries of multi-story timber-based buildings. This thesis confirms that since the first five-storey building was realised in 2004, at least 196 others were built until 2019. With many of these case-studies having been researched for the first time, the goal of this dissertation is to categorize the different international approaches and to define what are the drivers which had an effect on the design. Because the research topic is a recent development in academia, this thesis defines what multi-storey timber-based buildings actually are, and, after the discussion of existing literature, proceeds with the selection of the case-studies according to defined height and structural criteria. With the complete list of the buildings, the thesis first analyses the design characteristics of all case-studies, in order to research how these projects were built. The analysis includes thirty-two structural categories in which each case-study is classified and described. The analysis was able to show that there are many design differences between the countries involved. Some clusters of solutions can also be identified. The purpose of the second step was to understand by who and why these buildings have been built. In order to answer these questions, the thesis proceeds with each country's contextual analysis. Regulatory framework in place at the time of the project are described, but the focus is given on the stakeholders and R&D concepts involved in the realisation of the selected case-studies. Furthermore, the declared reasons for choosing a timber structure, along with the public and private typology of the commission were also researched. The contextual analysis shows, as the literature confirms, that the legal framework often sets the necessary rules for building multi-story timber-based buildings. However, the role played by the stakeholders is not secondary, and there are clear patterns of interdependence between many case-studies and the professionals involved in their construction. While private clients are often the actual drivers behind the majority of the cases, there are several countries in which the leading role is played by public initiatives. In some cases, the intrinsic properties of timber played a decisive role in the choice of the clients. This dissertation adds further valuable information regarding the constructive and contextual characteristics of multi-story timber-based buildings built over the last fifteen years, in order to show the differences and commonalities between each country involved. Multi-storey timber-based buildings are a complex phenomenon, which really depend on the nation in which they were built. At the same time, it was possible to identify international trends in their design, and major players which considerably influenced the design solutions and realisations of these buildings.