Timber City

Practice Area


National Building Museum

Project Vision

Timber City examined the benefits of timber construction by presenting information about engineered wood, focusing primarily on Cross Laminated Timber, a new building material recently introduced to the U.S. market. The exhibition aimed to educate the public and advocate for public policy change in the US for more timber over concrete and steel construction in our urban cores.

Since the curators were also the designers, the graphic design elements were fully integrated with the physical and spatial experience of the exhibition. Actual CLT panels were used to not only define the spaces within the exhibition but also as wayfinding, as a medium for the graphics and as a tactile, olfactory and material demonstration of the content and curatorial message presented in the graphics.

A major challenge for this exhibition was the large amount of information, sometimes very technical, that needed to be communicated clearly to a general audience and to visitors from Capitol Hill. Graphics were installed directly onto large leaning CLT panels along both sides of the gallery. The leaning panels communicated the massiveness of CLT and set it apart from the existing architecture to reinforce the difference between the masonry of the building and timber construction.

One of the panels integrated video with graphics that compared old and new approaches to timber use in the building industry. The exhibition also featured a timber timeline where tree rings represented years and the bark was composed of notable timber buildings throughout history. Actual samples of timber leaned against the gallery wall and graphics were applied directly onto them.

Along the hallway outside the gallery, leaning wood panels each presented information about a different case study of a timber building. Graphics on the large arches that form the windows along the gallery were used to dispel common myths about timber construction.

Project Details
Design Team

Yugon Kim (principal in charge), Tomomi Itakura (principal in charge), Brendan Casimir(designer), Christian Borger (designer), Erin Kim(designer), David Morgan(designer), James Fan(designer)

Project Area

4,500 sq ft


IKD, Bensonwood, Whole Trees, Nordic Structures, Unalam, Fraserwood, Weyerhaeuser


SmartLAM, DR Johnson, Spectrum Printing & Graphics