Timber

After years of planning, the University of Idaho has finally broken ground on a dedicated basketball arena. Scheduled for completion in 2021, the 62,000-sq.-ft. Idaho Central Credit Union Arena will be the new home for Vandals' basketball, regional tournaments, lectures, as well as "small and mid-size" events, other cultural and special events, concerts and conventions, said Guy Esser, project architect of the University.

Boston's MIT students and researchers are doing their thing. The academic brain-trust at the Massachusetts university has contributed to society's progress in impressive ways and, perhaps, less august ways — the oxymoronic all-terrain wheelchair comes to mind.

Researchers have collaborated to create a new robot that could transform timber construction. The project, Spatial Timber Assemblies, is the product of efforts between three research labs: Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich and ERNE AG Holzbau. The teams created a digital timber construction method that allows a series of robots to quickly put together timber modules, which can then be used to make up larger structures, Dezeen reported.

The world's tallest wooden skyscraper is coming to Japan. Japan-based Sumitomo Forestry will create the structure, named W350, with 90 percent wood and 10 percent steel, the South China Morning Post reported. The structure will rise 350 meters, much taller than the world's current highest timber building, which stretches just 53 meters high.

A spiraling timber temple will be built in the Nevada desert for Burning Man 2018. Galaxia, the 65-ft.-wide by 200-ft. tall temporary structure designed by Mamou-Mani Architects, will be made with a series of timber modules twisting to form a spiral, echoing the shape for which the building was named, Inhabitat reported.

A proposed 80-story beechwood skyscraper could become a pillar of progress for timber construction. Chicago's River Beech project is a joint research venture between Cambridge University, architecture firm Perkins + Will, and structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, Curbed reported.

A new $30 million, 4,700-seat sports arena will house several of the University of Idaho's sports programs, including men's and women's basketball and volleyball, when it completes in 2020. Designed by Hastings + Chivetta Architects, with Opsis Architecture as the Architect of Record, University of Idaho Arena will also serve as a gathering space for academic events, special concerts, and meetings.