Timber in the City: Design Contest Encourages Sky-High Wood Structures

EWP Timber in the City Contest

Another design contest promoting wood for urban projects could lead to even more large-scale wood architecture in the United States. Timber in the City encourages students and recent graduates to consider wood, a renewable resource, as a main material for tall structures. In addition to being affordable and sustainable, wood helps to provide healthy living and working environments.

The competition is organized by the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), Parsons The New School for Design, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). BSLC executive director Cees de Jager notes that even though U.S. building codes allow wood-framed structures to reach five stories, it’s used in only 12 to 15 percent of mid-rise construction.

Contest entrances will design a mid-rise, mixed-use complex of affordable housing units made primarily of wood for Red Hook, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Winning teams will get cash prizes of $30,000. De Jager hopes that the contest will result in more architects initiating taller wood-built structures, and that wood buildings as tall as 16 to 20 stories will someday be possible in the United States.

This contest comes after architect Michael Green initiated a revolution in wood construction, unveiling a concept for a 30-story tower in Vancouver. Green’s project is made from laminated strand lumber. The architect has made his plans and an instruction manual on wooden skyscrapers available to other designers in order to spur on rapid innovation.

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