U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition Winner Revealed

USDA and Softwood Lumber Board award $1.5 million to support tall wood demonstration project Portland, Oregon

Washington, D.C. — September 17, 2015 —Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, announced the winner of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. The winning development team was granted $1.5 million in funding to support the development of tall wood demonstration project in Portland, Oregon.

At a press conference hosted in New York this morning, Secretary Vilsack congratulated the competition winner. “The U.S. wood products industry is vitally important as it employs more than 548,000 people in manufacturing and forestry, with another 2.4 million jobs supported by U.S. private-forest owners,” said Vilsack. “By embracing the benefits of wood as a sustainable building material, this demonstration project has 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 this building helps lead the way in furthering the industry.” (*)

Next-generation lumber and mass timber products are becoming the latest innovation in building. Innovative new technologies and building systems have enabled longer wood spans, taller walls, and higher buildings, and continue to expand the possibilities for wood use in construction. Mass timber wood products are flexible, strong, and fire resistant, and can be used as a safe and sustainable alternative to concrete, masonry, and steel. Using wood helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by storing carbon and simultaneously offsetting emissions from conventional building materials. Wood can also help struggling rural forest communities. During the Recession, the drop in new construction and decline in home remodeling had a deep impact on wood manufacturing. However, if next-generation wood products can penetrate just five to fifteen percent of the non-residential North American market, it would mean roughly 0.8 – 2.4 billion board feet of lumber consumed annually. To put that in real-world context, roughly 11 jobs are created for each million board feet of wood processed (**).

The winning proposal – Framework – was selected by a panel of distinguished jurors in the architecture and engineering fields who are familiar with innovative wood building systems. The project met the Competition’s criteria 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 Framework Project, LLC will receive $1.5 million to embark on the exploratory phase of their project, including the research and development necessary to utilize engineered wood products in high-rise construction in the U.S. As part of the Competition evaluation criteria, the winning team has also obtained early support from authorities having jurisdiction to proceed.

“Tall wood building systems have been embraced by developers and architects around the world for many years,” said Marc Brinkmeyer, Softwood Lumber Board Chair. “Moving forward with this project is a step in the right direction for the U.S. building industry in having the ability to take full advantage of the inherent benefits of wood from both an environmental and economic standpoint.”

Winning Project Summary

Framework: An Urban + Rural Ecology

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.

“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.

“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.”

For more information and resources on tall wood buildings, please visit www.rethinkwood.com.

Competition Media Contact:

Jeanine Takala
Edelman Public Relations
T. (206) 664-7805
E. Jeanine.Takala@edelman.com

For more information on the USDA or the Forest Products Laboratory:

Michael Illenberg
USDA
T. (202) 694-5448
E. Millenberg@ers.usda.gov

For more information on the Softwood Lumber Board:

www.softwoodlumberboard.org

For more information on the Binational Softwood Lumber Council:

www.softwoodlumber.org

 

Sources:

* 548,000 Jobs: American Forest and Paper Association;  $87 Billion In Payroll: National Alliance Of Forest Owners, Economic Impact Of Privately-Owned Forests In The United States; Growth-removal ratios since 1952: US Forest Service (page 74)

** 11 forest sector jobs created for every million board feet of wood processed