Mass Timber Construction Project News
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Mass Timber Construction: How the World's Tallest Timber-Concrete Hybrid Came to Be in Milwaukee

Ascent is all the buzz in Milwaukee. Officially announced as the tallest hybrid mass timber tower in the world, Ascent opened its doors in July 2022 for residents to call 700 E Kilbourn Avenue home.  

Signage going up for Ascent luxury apartment mass timber high-rise in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Years in the making, the vision for Ascent started nearly a decade ago. But, Ascent’s concept was just the start to achieving this tall feat. To lay claim to the tallest mass timber building and construct a sustainable, luxury residential high-rise, the project team understood that extensive planning and collaboration needed to occur, including addressing and evolving building codes to enable a more sustainable future.

316' freestanding crane working on building Ascent to be the world's tallest hybrid mass timber tower

As Ascent rose to a staggering 284 feet, the project team fielded numerous United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) assessments, fire testing and inspections, and visits from news media outlets and world-renowned documentary filmmakers.

Mass timber construction progress in June 2021 showing CLT and glulam beams, columns and decking

The project was a labor of love and collaboration between C.D. Smith, Catalyst Construction, Korb + Associates Architects, Thornton Tomasetti structural engineers and New Land Enterprises, the owner. C.D. Smith oversaw the site work, the core and shell build and MEP trade partners.

Indoor pool overlooking Milwaukee in Ascent mass timber building

Above the concrete garage podium, the floors are built with cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam, a more robust, lighter prefabricated alternative to traditional steel and concrete. Mass timber offers many benefits to building owners, occupants and the environment. 

Glazing and curtain wall installation on lower stories of Ascent mass timber building construction in Milwaukee

What is Mass Timber Construction and What are the Benefits?

Mass timber is a sustainable building material with a low carbon footprint. It has fewer embodied carbons and requires less water and energy to produce than concrete or steel. It is also cleaner to construct, which aids in reducing carbon emissions during construction. Mass timber also locks in carbon from the atmosphere, benefiting everyone in the building and community for years to come.

Mass timber is highly rated for seismic resilience and has vibration-resistant properties to withstand the impacts of explosions, earthquakes and high winds. The predictable way it burns and chars is unique to mass timber and it meets or exceeds burn codes in the event of a fire.

Mass timber is prefabricated, lending itself to a faster build time. Additionally, materials that are prefabricated offsite require significantly less truck traffic on the construction site. 

Learn more about Mass Timber Construction  Ascent MKE | Fastenal Office Building | Poplar Hall

Aerial drone footage of mass timber construction and crane working on Ascent high-rise in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The World's Tallest Hybrid Mass Timber Building

In July 2022, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) declared Ascent the World’s Tallest Timber-Concrete Hybrid Building. Officials from the State of Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee and representatives from USDA and CTBUH attended the celebration.

"Building the world's tallest mass timber building requires bringing in subject matter experts from all across the world and combining that knowledge with best practices for building a high rise. C.D. Smith's track record in the latter, as well as their team's creative problem-solving and perseverance, was exemplary.”

-Tim Gokhman, Managing Director, New Land Enterprises

Date: Sept. 15, 2022 | Author: Molly Haack


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Learn More about Ascent MKE Building the World's Tallest Mass Timber Tower





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Ascent luxury apartments Milwaukee housing project updates from C.D. Smith Construction on tallest mass timber wood building.


C.D. Smith

About Us
C.D. Smith Construction is a nationally recognized industry leader in safely providing the highest quality commercial construction services. Utilizing an integrated approach and in-house technical expertise, our team serves as a solutions provider throughout all phases of a project, from planning through closeout. With veteran leadership and dedication to our employees and clients, we proudly place our name on projects of all sizes across the United States.
Sustainable Projects
High-Performance Building

Our commitment to holistically enhancing the current and future environmental, economic and societal well-being of the communities in which we live, work and play begins with education. We have a team devoted to understanding the difference between green building and a sustainable built environment. Our team will help you weigh the financial and business impacts of building green through a sustainable approach to make the most informed decisions. Join us in our commitment to creating better-performing buildings by increasing sustainable construction practices. It’s more than a trend… it’s the right thing to do!

Our Sustainability

We went for LEED Gold®, and now we're living green in the best possible way. According to the USGBC LEED Project Directory, the C.D. Smith Corporate Office is the first recognized LEED BD+C: New Construction-v4 Gold Certified building in Wisconsin, the next-generation standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance.

Discover more about OUR SUSTAINABILITY by following the link.


Recently Certified Projects

LEED Certified Platinum

  • MMSD Maintenance Facility | Madison, WI

LEED Certified Gold

  • C.D. Smith Corporate Headquarters | Fond du Lac, WI
  • Grande Cheese Home Office and Research Center | Fond du Lac, WI
  • Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District tR2E2 Project | Green Bay | WI
  • Spur 16 Apartment Homes |Mequon, WI
  • UW-La Crosse Centennial Hall | La Crosse, WI
  • UW-La Crosse Student Center | La Crosse, WI
  • Zurn Corporate Headquarters | Milwaukee, WI

LEED Certified Silver

  • 7Seventy7 | Milwaukee, WI
  • Spur 16 Townhomes |Mequon, WI
  • Mequon Public Market At Spur 16 |Mequon, WI (Processing)
  • Global Water Center | Milwaukee, WI
  • Viterbo School of Nursing | La Crosse, WI
  • General Mitchell Baggage Claim | Milwaukee, WI
  • Milo C. Huemphner Department of Veteran Affairs Outpatient Clinic | Green Bay, WI
  • Wilmington Veteran Affairs Medical Center | Wilmington, NC
  • Benjamin Charles Steele Veteran Affairs Clinic | Billings, MT
  • Bangor Veteran Affairs Clinic | Bangor, ME
  • The Lewiston / Auburn Veteran Affairs Clinic | Lewiston, ME


Sustainable Projects Currently Underconstruction

  • Ascent Timber Tower | Milwaukee, WI
  • Nakoosa Trail Fleet/Fire/Radio Shop Facility | Madison, WI


Sustainable Practices

We are proud of the sustainable design and construction that went into our new headquarters. Key sustainable features include:

Powered by Solar

Atop of our new headquarters sits a 94kW ballasted, solar photovoltaic system. The system features five SolarEdge Technologies Inc. inverters and (294) REC Group 320w modules. It is projected to offset an estimated up to 39.1% of our electric energy consumption. That’s saving over 93 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year!

Daylight Harvesting

Floor to ceiling, energy-efficient windows throughout the C.D. Smtih headquarters optimize daylight to reduce energy consumption by offsetting the amount of electricity lightly needed to properly light spaces in the building. 

Automated Building Controls

Tracking and metering of systems allow for decreased operating costs, enhanced system performance, energy savings, increased comfort and overall increased control of building infrastructure. 

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Reusable cups are located in cafes. Recycling Stations are located throughout the building along with bottle filling stations. Office employees are making a valiant effort to go paperless.

Prairie in Progress

As a part of our green initiatives, C.D. Smith is practicing sustainable landscaping. Native planting takes two to three years to develop and requires maintenance for the plants to successfully establish. Maintenance may include mowing, weed management, and prescribed burning. The land surrounding the building will look different throughout the season and every year.


Culture of Safety

Through a proactive safety program, strict standards and our “Think Safe. Work Safe.” campaign, we have built a solid culture where safety is our number one priority day in and day out.

 Go to our website's SAFETY page to learn more about how in everything we do, safety is our number one priority. A video is embedded at the bottom of the page.
Giving Back
Our Community

C.D. Smith supports many local organizations through sponsorship programs and monetary donations in our community and in the communities with which we work. In the past 10 years, we have donated over $4 million to businesses and organizations throughout the state of Wisconsin, from small community clubs to large non-profit organizations.

Building community is the foundation of our organization. By supporting community initiatives, economic growth and development, we feel privileged to help ensure our team members have solid places to live, work, volunteer, serve and play.

Go to our Beneath the Hard Hat Press & Blog and select the C.D. Smith Gives Back filtered category to learn more.


Trades Partners & Bids
If you are interested in working with us or would like to request adding your company to our bidder’s database, please complete our Trade Partners & Bids Form, Click here.


Quick Facts | What is Mass Timber Construction?

  • Value-Added Benefits
  • Carbon Sequestering
  • Sustainably Sourced
  • Structurally Strong
  • Fire Resistant

Learn more at


Experts in housing construction

The demand for new ways to live and travel including greater on-site amenities like dog parks, dining and entertainment space is driving a shift in housing throughout the world. C.D. Smith is partnering with housing developers to offer the very best in housing options at competitive market rates. We're building state-of-the-art multi-family and senior housing facilities in support of lifestyles for converting addresses to homes. Scroll down for a preview of our HOUSING CONSTRUCTION PROJECT EXPERIENCE or explore more housing construction projects using this link to the YOUR INDUSTRY: HOUSING CONSTRUCTION pages of our website.


Our self-perform capabilities are a direct result of our talented team members' skilled trade career paths in the communities in which we live and work.

Learn more about C.D. Smith Construction's self-performing capabilities from our WEB PAGE:


Image Carousel with Photos from Wiehag Mass Timber Construction Below


Sustainably sourced slow grown high grade Austrian sawn lumber for mass timber construction of Ascent

Glulam column and beam ends for mass timber construction of Ascent

Glulam engineered wood column for mass timber construction of Ascent

Wiehag Timber Construction carpenter applying steel hanger to glulam beam prior to shipping for Ascent 

Wiehag carpenter applying fire tape to mass timber for Ascent project

Test fitting of glulam beam to engineered wood column before mass timber construction shipment for Ascent

Get in Touch

Corporate Headquarters
125 Camelot Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Milwaukee Office
8325 W. Tower Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53223

Madison Office
316 West Washington Avenue
Suite 900 
Madison, WI 53703

La Crosse Office
333 Front Street North
Suite 701 
La Crosse, WI 54601

Ready to build community and get connected with commercial construction expertise? Use the below form to submit questions or request information. We look forward to learning more and discovering how we can make YOUR PROJECT. OUR PRIORITY.®.