Jake Elbrecht Hired As Mass Timber Researcher in Building Science
Auburn alum Jake Elbrecht has been hired as a Visiting Assistant Research Professor in the McWhorter School of Building Science (BSCI). His primary responsibilities include researching mass timber construction and teaching courses on mass timber to both building science and architecture students.
Elbrecht graduated from Auburn with a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Science in Architecture with an emphasis on Public Interest Design. As a student, Elbrecht spent five semesters at Rural Studio, including his undergraduate thesis year and his graduate studies. While at Rural Studio, Elbrecht worked with faculty members, external partners and other students on the Breathing Wall Mass Timber Research Project, studying the engineering theory that conduction losses through a building’s envelope can be greatly reduced or eliminated through intentional heat recovery efforts in the structure of the wall. “Our design-build research focused on two parts: how you design the connections between different types of mass timber elements, like floors and walls, and how the inherent thermal properties of wood reduce the need for additional insulation and building systems,” he explained. After graduating with his master’s, Elbrecht held a 12-month research fellowship with New Orleans design firm EskewDumezRipple. He has spent the last year and a half as a Research Associate at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Elbrecht feels it is vital that Auburn grads have experience in mass timber design and construction, especially given Auburn’s location in the Southeast. “This region of the United States has the natural resources and manufacturing facilities coming online to support greater amounts of mass timber construction,” he said. “Having a solid education in this field will make Auburn graduates more competitive with their peers immediately after graduation.” He will be teaching an interdisciplinary undergraduate seminar for building science and architecture students so both disciplines have a firm understanding of the roles, responsibilities and perspectives of the other.
Though his background is in architecture, Elbrecht says he’s excited to begin his academic career in BSCI in an interdisciplinary fashion. “The scope of my position allows me to look at everything from cost estimating in the preconstruction phase to evaluating increases in the speed of construction after completion,” he stated. “Among many other things, I’m looking forward to researching alternative connections so mass timber buildings can be disassembled at the building’s end-of-life.”
“We’re thrilled to have Jacob join our faculty,” stated School Head Dr. Richard Burt. “His research background is impressive, and his knowledge and experience in mass timber construction will help the school and the college build a strong research program in this growing area.”