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Project File: Timber-framing showcase

The new Upper School at Greenwich Academy, Greenwich, Conn., has a glulam framing system with tall light-chamber skylights made with 2-foot by 6-foot translucent panels that illuminate the interior.

The 45,000-square-foot building has 32 classrooms, five science labs, several offices, a courtyard and a 20,000-volume library. The $30 million structure connects the academy's lower, middle and upper school, as well as the administrative building. It also contains a two-story stone fireplace and a glass-enclosed elevator shaft.

One of the school's most dramatic features is a rooftop garden, supported by a flat roof framed with exposed glulam beams that range from 4 inches by 5 inches to 4 inches by 20 inches. The beams span 16 feet to 20 feet. Students can walk directly to the landscaped roof because of the steep building site.

The glued laminated timbers used for roof beams, columns and mullions are stress-rated engineered wood products composed of wood laminations bonded together with strong, waterproof adhesives. The individual layers typically are 2 inches thick. The architects designed the structure with minimum-size laminated timbers to partially conceal the steel connections between the horizontal and vertical mullions.

Glulam columns are secured to the foundation with steel inverted T-fasteners. There are four light chambers ranging in height from 30 feet to 40 feet, each with warped-roof planes.

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