Entrants will be challenged to propose construction systems that draw optimally on the performance characteristics of a variety of wood technologies, and incorporate the creative and innovative use of wood in its design.
Entrants will be challenged to propose construction systems that draw optimally on the performance characteristics of a variety of wood technologies, and incorporate the creative and innovative use of wood in its design.

NEW YORK - A competition for urban wood building design, Timber in the City: Urban Habitats challenges architecture students to design a mid-rise, mixed-use complex for a site in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook.

Organized by the the Binational Softwood Lumber Council,  Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and Parsons The New School for Design. The groups say wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years, but when it comes to urban construction, American cities are predominantly steel and concrete. It hopes to change that.

"Timber is ideal for green building – it has a lower overall environmental and carbon footprint than other materials and is renewable," said Cees de Jager, executive director of the Binational Softwood Lumber Council. Dejager says  wood is well suited for a broad range of structural and aesthetic applications, and it "is high performance, and, in many cases, is a more economical choice." The BSLC was established in 2006 by the Canadian and U.S. governments to increase use of wood.

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Innovations in wood technologies are offering new opportunities for large-scale construction in this sustainable material. From long-span laminated beams to cross-laminated timber panels, wood has proven to be a safe and durable for urban settings.

Systems are already being used in major cities around the world, from Europe to Australia and Canada. This includes such highly acclaimed projects as architect Andrew Waugh's Murray Grove in North London, the world's tallest residential building made of cross-laminated timber panels

Entrants will be challenged to propose construction systems that draw optimally on the performance characteristics of a variety of wood technologies. A judging panel will award  winning teams with cash prizes totaling $30,000, and the projects will be publicly exhibited at the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting in Miami and the American Institute of Architects 2014 Convention in Chicago.

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