Proposals for Portland, New York Win US Tall Wood Building Prize

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, has announced the winners of the US Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. The two winning projects—Framework, by Framework, LLC, and 475 West 18th, by 130-134 Holdings LLC—will each receive $1.5 million in funding for their development in Portland and New York, respectively.

Each of the projects took a unique perspective on wood building systems, fulfilling the competition’s call “to showcase the safe application, practicality, and sustainability of a minimum 80-foot structure that uses mass timber, composite wood technologies, and innovative building techniques.”

“The U.S. wood products industry is vitally important as it employs more than 547,000 people in manufacturing and forestry, with another 2.4 million jobs supported by U.S. private-forest owners," said Secretary Vilsack. "By embracing the benefits of wood as a sustainable building material, these demonstration projects have the ability to help change the face of our communities, mitigate climate change and support jobs in rural America. I look forward to seeing how these two buildings help lead the way in furthering the industry.”

Framework; Portland, Oregon / Framework, LLC

New advances in lumber and mass timber products are some of the latest technologies being used in the architectural field: with them, comes the possibilities for longer wood spans, taller walls, higher buildings, improved resilience, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that would be emitted through the use of conventional building materials.

Framework: An Urban + Rural Ecology / Framework, LLC

Framework; Portland, Oregon / Framework, LLC. Image Courtesy of LEVER Architecture

Beneficial State Bancorp will provide site control to real estate developer project^, affordable housing investor Home Forward, and LEVER Architecture, for the proposed Framework as a redevelopment of their Pearl District property in Portland, Oregon. The 12-story urban + rural ecological project is to be constructed primarily of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and will support a distinct blend of functions including street-level retail, office, workforce housing and community space. The main community space is designed to include a public Tall Wood Exhibit, featuring resources related to the realization and design of the building.

Framework; Portland, Oregon / Framework, LLC. Image Courtesy of LEVER Architecture

“We consider Framework to be a totally transformative, mission-driven project that will promote social justice, environmental well-being and economic opportunity at the building, regional and national levels,” said Kat Taylor, President, Beneficial State Bancorp, the landowner of the project site.

Framework; Portland, Oregon / Framework, LLC

“The relationship of our cities to our rural communities, what we call ‘forest to frame,’ is strengthened by Framework,” added Anyeley Hallova, Partner, project^. “On a national scale this project will be catalytic, leading to more tall wood buildings, driving more wood products and wood product innovation, and boosting rural economic development.”

475 West 18th: Setting the Stage For Innovation, Engineering and Architecture / 130-134 Holdings LLC

475 West 18th; New York, New York / 130-134 Holdings LLC. Image © SHoP Architects
475 West 18th; New York, New York / 130-134 Holdings LLC. Image © SHoP Architects

130-134 Holdings LLC, in partnership with Spiritos Properties, SHoP Architects, Arup, Icor Associates, and environmental consultancy Atelier Ten, proposed 475 West 18th as a transformative and sustainable prototype for the design and construction industry, demonstrating an innovative approach to going beyond a limited palette of materials and systems for high-rise construction. Expanding the palette with wood, a locally sourced and renewable material, provides a low-carbon, more economically sound building solution.

475 West 18th’s extensive use of wood structural elements and other wood products allows the team to set ambitious sustainability targets in the building's design, construction, and operation. By combining aggressive load reduction with energy efficient systems, the project team anticipates reducing overall energy consumption by at least 50 percent relative to current energy codes. It will also target LEED Platinum certification, as well as pursue higher levels of sustainability not captured in the LEED system.

475 West 18th; New York, New York / 130-134 Holdings LLC. Image © SHoP Architects

“By choosing to develop a timber building, we hope to pave the way for a new method of urban construction that is ecologically conscious and supportive of rural economies,” said Erica Spiritos of Spiritos Properties. “Rooted in the forests and erected in the city, this building is a celebration of habitats that are at once ancient and cutting edge, interconnected and individual, natural and technological.”

“We are delighted to be developing this tall timber building in New York City, which has led the world in urban design and engineering throughout the last century,” said Jonathan Ghassemi, on behalf of 130-134 Holdings LLC. “We are confident that this project will once again position New York to serve as a leader in a new generation of sustainable building methods during the 21st century and beyond.”

With $1.5 million each, as well as early support and jurisdiction to proceed, the two teams will soon begin the exploratory phases of their projects. Learn more about the projects here.

News and project descriptions via reThink Wood.

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Cite: Sabrina Santos. "Proposals for Portland, New York Win US Tall Wood Building Prize" 17 Sep 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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