Metasequoia Shingles

Metasequoia shingles on teh Wister Center. photo credit: R. Robert

Another way to achieve LEED certification points is to reuse building material and recycled material. For the Wister Education Center and Greenhouse this idea has been employed in several avenues but none as uniquely as in the use of Metasequoia shingles.

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Citilog unloading the Metasequoia trees in their lumber yard. photo credit: Citilog

In order to build the Alice Paul Hall (opened in 2005), a grove of Metasequoia glyptostroboides, dawn redwood, was removed from the area beside the south end of Mertz Hall. These twelve trees were harvested by Citilog and milled into shingles.

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Stack of harvested Metasequoia trees. photo credit: Citilog

Citilog takes trees that have fallen down, are being removed as part of a construction project, or are saved from a demolition project and creates finished wood products such as furniture, flooring, and architectural millwork. Their mission is to “save trees from being dumped into landfills, cut for firewood, or ground up for mulch. In the process, they provide a valuable source of quality lumber, cabinetry, millwork and a wide variety of finished wood products.”

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Metasequoia shingles on the Wister Center. photo credit: R. Robert

For the Wister Center, we were able to use 381sq. ft. of the Metasequoia shingles and used a 100 sq. ft. of cedar shingles to complete the job. We are amused to think outside of China, we may be the only place to have used Metasequoia in this way.

Click here to read about all the efforts for LEED certification at the Wister Center.

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  1. Wow, what a great story!! Had Scott planned on utilizing these shingles in the Wister Center when the trees were cut down in 2005?

  2. Please tell us how metasequoia compares to slow growth cedar and redwood in terms of wear, longevity, color changes, etc. Also please tell us if and what the shingles were treated with… Penofin, Waterseal …?
    My house is sheathed in old growth redwood salvaged from the old physical plant building at Haverford College. I am always looking for the best products to keep it happy.
    Thank you!

  3. Yes, when we harvested the Metasequoia shingles we envisioned using them in some manner when we eventually built the Wister Center.

    Andrew Bunting, Curator

  4. We are not sure how the Metaseqouia shingles compare to cedar or redwood. I would guess they would be similar to redwood since they are closely related. We are not familiar with another building in North America with Metasequoia singles. We suspect they will turn grey similar to cedar shake shingles. These shingles were not treated.

    Andrew Bunting, Curator

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