Texas Forestry Association (TFA) presented the 2020 Excellence in Wood Design to First United Bank, Fredericksburg, during the virtual annual meeting held Oct. 28-29, 2020 at the TFA headquarters in Lufkin, Texas.
The Excellence in Wood Design award has been presented for over fifty years as a positive outreach program for TFA. The main criteria for the nominations include the projects must be located in Texas and they must have been completed within the past five years.
“The design began with First United Bank’s desire to develop a unique structure that didn’t look like any other bank, and to express the honest, community-based values of their organization and their customers,” said Rob Hughes, TFA Executive Director. “That’s when Gensler’s design team introduced them to Mass Timber.”
Mass Timber is a framing process utilizing large wood panels for construction as an alternative to steel, masonry, and concrete which all have higher traces of carbon. The process is gaining popularity not only for its lower carbon, but also for the possibilities inherent in the natural beauty of wood.
“The graceful aesthetic and natural warmth of the typology became the perfect embodiment of First United Bank’s values and achieved several firsts in its implementation,” said Hughes. “It is the first full mass timber construction project completed in Texas, the first retail mass timber structure in the state, and the first in the nation to use Southern Yellow Pine Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels.”
The Gensler design team for First United Bank, Fredericksburg, includes Taylor Coleman, Matt Severance, Kaylan Batten, Jessica Vasquez, and Emily Harden. Their design included significant architectural elements with iconic deep roof overhangs that double as a recognizable landmark and were designed to minimize sun exposure during hot summer months, and to maximize sunlight during winter months.