- The United States Department of Agriculture announced Framework, LLC, and 475 West 18th from 130-134 Holdings, LLC, as the winners of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition, sponsored by the USDA in partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council.
- The winners were selected based on their design proposals for innovative, tall timber buildings and were each awarded $1.5 million to finance the development phases of their projects.
- The sponsors devised the competition in an effort to promote the use of next-generation lumber and mass timber products as sustainable building materials and to increase production and employment in the U.S. wood products industry.
According to the USDA, a major goal of the competition was to showcase the potential of wood and wood products as safe, practical and sustainable building materials.
The USDA would also like to see an increase in the use of wood products to boost employment in the rural communities that typically serve the wood industry. With just a 5-15% share in the nonresidential North American market, the USDA noted, there is potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs.
And, according to the USDA, mass timber wood products are a safe, flexible, fire-resistant alternative to concrete, masonry and steel, and have much less of a negative impact on the environment, as they store carbon and offset the greenhouse gas emissions from conventional building products.
Overcoming building codes and fire codes, as well as public perception of the safety of working or living in wood high-rises, will be a serious challenge as these development teams strive to join the plyscraper movement and pursue the successful development and construction of their prize-winning, tall timber designs in Portland, OR, and New York City.