Department of Agriculture launches Tall Wood Building Competition

The competition is the first step of a new USDA and forest industry initiative that is designed to support rural U.S. communities.

October 13, 2014 |

The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) congratulated the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the formal launch of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition.

The competition invites U.S. developers, institutions, organizations and design teams willing to undertake an alternative solution approach to designing and building taller wood structures to submit entries for a prize of $2 million.

Following a funding initiative announced by the Obama Administration and the U.S. forestry industry through the USDA, SLB and BSLC earlier this year, the goal of the prize competition is to link rural U.S. technical expertise and products with evolving domestic and international market opportunities to showcase the application and sustainability of innovative wood-based structural building materials and solutions.

The objective of the competition is to identify proponents with building project(s) in the concept-, schematic- or design-development stage in the U.S. that can safely and successfully demonstrate the use of wood as a viable structural material in tall buildings.

Above and beyond the safety, environmental and economic benefits of wood, the initiative will challenge developers, designers, building officials, builders and manufacturers to further develop and refine specification and use of structural wood products - ultimately expanding the opportunity for new product and market development.

Marc Brinkmeyer, SLB Board Chair explained, “There is a breadth of wood-related building science, design and construction that’s underway internationally. 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."

The opportunity to learn from what’s been done elsewhere, and build on it here in the U.S., is very exciting for our industry, our employees and communities. I am equally thrilled and appreciative of the partnership that industry has forged with the USDA on this competition, and am looking forward to seeing the great wood-based projects that will result. Wood truly is an optimal choice for the environment and economy.”

The competition is the first step of a new USDA and forest industry initiative that is designed to support rural U.S. communities. Submissions that meet the criteria of the competition will be evaluated by an expert panel of design and building professionals. The full Official Rules document, related background information and contact details can be found on the prize competition website. 

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