U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition

September 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, 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 in September 2015. The winning development team was selected by a panel of distinguished jurors in the architecture and engineering fields, and have been granted $1.5 million in funding to support the development of tall wood demonstration projects in Portland, Oregon.

Competition Purpose

The Competition was established to showcase the safe application, practicality and sustainability of a minimum 80-foot tall structure that uses mass timber, composite wood technologies and innovative building techniques, as well as provide scientific and technical support to encourage and support the design and construction of tall wood projects in the U.S. The ultimate goal is to support employment opportunities in rural communities, maintain the health and resiliency of the nation’s forests, and advance sustainability in the built environment.

Project Team

Framework Project Team:

Portland, Oregon
Owner: Framework, LLC
Land Owner: Beneficial State Bancorp
Development Team: project^
Architect: LEVER Architecture
Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
M/E/P: PAE Consulting Engineers
Affordable Housing Investor: Home Forward
Fire/Timber & Environmental Engineer: Arup
General Contractor: Walsh Construction

Benefits of Tall Wood Buildings

For single, multi-family and mixed residential construction, wood typically costs less—economically and environmentally—while delivering more in terms of its beauty, versatility and performance. It can be used as a low-carbon alternative to steel, masonry and concrete in many applications. 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(*).

The choice of products used to build, renovate and operate structures consumes more of the earth’s resources than any other human activity. Wood is the only building material that sequesters carbon, thus significantly reducing the overall carbon footprint of a project (*).

Additional information on the benefits of tall wood buildings can be found at www.thinkwood.com.

What’s Next?

Framework, 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. While the current U.S. building code does not allow for more than six stories of wood frame construction, the winning team has obtained early permission to proceed from their respective authorities having jurisdiction as part of the Competition evaluation criteria.

For More Information on the USDA or the Forest Products Laboratory: www.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: Think Wood, USDA Forest Products Laboratory