US Department of Agriculture Launches $2 Million Tall Wood Building Prize Competition

Limnologen in Växjö, Sweden. Image Courtesy of Midroc Property Development

Among the changes in material technology that are constantly altering the architectural landscape, one of the most popular – and most dramatic – is the idea of the timber skyscraper. And with vocal advocates like Benton Johnson of SOM and Michael Green leading the discussion with projects like the Timber Tower Research Project, the wooden highrise is on the verge of becoming a mainstream approach.

To further the conversation in the USA, the US Department of Agriculture, working in partnership with Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), has recently launched the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, an ideas competition with a $2 million prize. To find out more about  buildings, we caught up with Oscar Faoro, Project Manager of the competition. Read on after the Break for our interview and more details on how to enter.

Win a Free Full Pass to Greenbuild from reThink Wood

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UPDATE: Submissions are now closed. We will contact the winner in the week.

Next month, the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is coming to the Big Easy for three days of speakers and educational workshops that discuss sustainable architecture. If you haven’t booked your ticket already, here is a chance to attend the event free of charge!

reThink Wood is offering a full pre-paid pass to Greenbuild this year ($700 value) to one lucky ArchDaily reader. The winner will also be able to meet with architects on-site that are passionate about the green movement and reducing the environmental impact of buildings through innovative design with .

To win, just answer the following question in the comments section before September 26 12:00PM EST: ”Which architecture firm(s) are doing the most innovative green designs with wood today?”

Why Tall Wooden Buildings are On the Rise: An Interview with Perkins+Will’s Wood Expert

IZM Building / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann – Germany. Image © Norman A. Müller

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural materials in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Wood. The United States is the largest producer of the natural resource in the world. But yet we rarely see it in commercial, high-rise construction. So we asked a wood expert – Rebecca Holt at Perkins+Will, an analyst for reThink Wood‘s recent Tall Wood Survey  – to tell us about its potential benefits.

AD: Why is wood a material architects should use in taller buildings?

There are lots of reasons to consider wood – first it has a lower environmental impact than other traditional choices like and steel.  Wood is the only major building material that is made the by sun and is completely renewable.

Win a Free Full Pass to the 2014 AIA National Convention from reThink Wood

Dewitt-Chestnut Apartments. Image © Hedrich Blessing via SOM

UPDATE: Submissions are now closed. We will contact the winner in the week.

Next month, the AIA National Convention is coming to Chicago – bringing together the best and brightest building professionals to network, and learn about growing trends in the architecture industry. If you haven’t booked your ticket already, here is a chance to attend the event free of charge!

reThink Wood is offering a full pre-paid pass to the AIA National Convention ($945 value) to one lucky ArchDaily reader. The winner will also be able to meet with architects on site that are passionate about innovative design with wood in mid-rise, and even high-rise projects.

To win, just answer the following question in the comments section before May 21 12:00PM EST: What architect(s) are doing the most interesting work with wood today?

More on reThink Wood at the AIA, after the break. 

Tall Tinder: Are Wooden Skyscrapers Really Fire Safe?

IZM - Illwerke Zentrum Montafon / Architekten Hermann Kaufmann ZT GmbH. Image © Norman A. Müller

While interest in tall buildings continues to grow, there still remains one obvious concern: combustibility. So how safe are structures really? Arup Connect spoke with Robert Gerard, a fire engineer in Arup’s San Francisco office, to find out how high-rise wood buildings take into account.

Venice Biennale 2014: New Zealand Focuses First Entry on Pacific-Style Architecture

Auckland Art Gallery / FJMT + Archimedia. Image © John Gollings

New Zealand has appointed Auckland architect David Mitchell to serve as creative director and lead the country’s first participation at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Bridging from Rem Koolhaas’ theme, “Fundamentals”, Mitchell plans to exhibit New Zealand’s tradition of pacific-style architecture and light through a series of models. 

“We’re going to show off some of the most unsung architecture in the world, our Pacific architecture,” described Mitchell. “It’s an architecture made out of poles, beams and panels and not out of heaps of rocks, bricks and tiles.”

SOM Gets Behind Wooden Skyscraper Design

Courtesy of ArchDaily

Although known for their iconic of glass and steel, SOM has begun to redefine our idea of the high-rise by pushing for wood as an alternative material for tall buildings. Not only could it help solve the worldwide problem of housing for those who are or will live in cities, but wooden skyscrapers could also address climate change by reducing a building’s carbon footprint. Click here to read about the structural system that SOM has come up with and don’t check out our previous coverage on the equally fascinating Timber Tower Research Project!

Southern States Outlaw LEED Building Standards

1315 Peachtree, in Atlanta, achieved LEED Platinum Certification. However, will newer buildings in Georgia be held to the same standards? . Image Courtesy of Perkins + Will

The US Green Building Council’s federally adopted LEED certification system has come under legislative siege with lobbyists from the timber, plastics and chemical industries crying out, “monopoly!” Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama have lead efforts to ban LEED, claiming the ’s closed-door approach and narrow-minded material interests have shut out stakeholders in various industries that could otherwise aid in the sustainable construction of environmentally-sensitive buildings.

Most recently, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, slipped in a last minute amendment to both the Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation appropriation bills stating no tax money may be used to require implementation of any green building certification system other than a system that:

The Timber Tower Research Project: Re-imagining the Skyscraper

Dewitt-Chestnut Apartments © Hedrich Blessing via SOM

SOM has come up with a structural system for skyscrapers that uses mass timber as the main structural material and minimizes the embodied carbon footprint of the building. The firm believes that their proposal is technically feasible from the standpoint of structural engineering, architecture, interior layouts, and building services and would revolutionize the traditional skyscraper as we know it.

Read on to learn more about The Tower Research Project.

Woodskin: The Flexible Timber Skin

Courtesy of MammaFotogramma

Have you ever wanted to create delicate, complex shapes from plywood, but can’t because it’s too stiff and unforgiving? Well all that might soon change, thanks to Milan-based design studio MammaFotogramma. They have created a type of flexible, ‘Woodskin‘ triangular tiles of Russian plywood.

Read more about Woodskin after the break…

Timber Fin House / Neil Dusheiko Architects

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Architect: Neil Dusheiko Architects
Location: Walthamstow, , England
Project Year: 2010
Contractor: RK Construction
Engineer: Momentum
Photography: Neil Dusheiko Architects

   

Modern Villa / BBVH Architecten

© Luuk Kramer

Architects: BBVH Architecten
Location: ,
Constractor: BB-X
Developer: Willson Real Estate
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 250 sqm
Photographs: Luuk Kramer

Iron Horse Hotel / The Kubala Washatko Architects

© , Inc.

Architect: The Kubala Washatko Architects
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: The Kubala Washatko Architects 

Designed by the Kubala Washatko Architects of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, the Iron Horse Hotel is an upscale boutique hotel that caters to motorcycle enthusiasts and travelers.  The 100,000sf project was completed in 2008 as a refurbishment to an existing factory — more images and architect description after the break.

Rishikesh House / Rajiv Saini

© Sebastian Zachariah

Architects: Mr. Rajiv Saini
Location: ,
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 640 sqm
Photographs: Sebastian Zachariah

DuPont Environmental Education Center / GWWO Architects

© Robert Creamer

Architects: GWWO Architects
Location: Wilmington, Delaware,
Structural Engineer: MacIntosh Engineering, Inc.
MEP Engineer: Mahaffy & Associates, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP.
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 13,900 sqf
Photographs: Robert Creamer

Sandal Magna Community Primary School / Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

© Mark Hadden Photography

Architects: Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
Locaiton: Wakefield,
Planning Supervisor: Nps North East
Main Contractor: Allenbuild North East
Structural Engineer: Techniker
Client: Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and NPS North East
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 1,740 sqm
Photographs: Mark Hadden Photography

Victoria 73 House / SAOTA

©

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Cape Town,
Interior Design: ANTONI ASSOCIATES
Structural Engineer: Tony Cooksey Structural Engineers
Project Area: 1,099 sqm
Photographs: SAOTA

Mercer House / Vibe Design Group

© Robert Hamer

Architects: Vibe Design Group
Location: ,
Project Area: 314 sqm
Photographs: Robert Hamer