The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a $2 million Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, following a funding initiative announced by the Obama Administration and the U.S. forestry industry through the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) earlier this year.
Its goal is to link rural U.S. technical expertise and products with evolving domestic and international market opportunities to showcase the application and sustainability of wood-based structural building materials. The competition seeks to identify proponents with building project(s) in the concept-, schematic-, or design-development stage that can safely and successfully demonstrate wood as a viable structural material in tall buildings. Beyond the safety, environmental, and economic benefits of wood, the initiative intends to challenge developers, designers, building officials, builders, and manufacturers to further develop and refine specification and use of structural wood products to expand opportunity for new product and market development.
Creation of taller wood buildings is becoming a trend internationally. In Ontario, the building code was recently changed to permit six-storey wood-framed buildings. (For more, see a recent Construction Canada article. Other examples exist around the world, explains Marc Brinkmeyer, SLB board chair.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of buildings over seven stories constructed around the world, including the 10-story Forte building in Melbourne, Australia and the 14-story Treet building in Bergen, Norway,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from what’s been done elsewhere, and build on it here is very exciting for our industry, our employees, and communities.”
Submissions meeting the competition’s criteria will be evaluated by an expert panel of design and building professionals. For more information, visit www.tallwoodbuildingcompetition.org.