Dept. of Agriculture encouraging tall wood structure construction

Prize awarded for 10-story or higher wooden buildings

September 25, 2015 |

Portland's Framework, by Lever Architecture, was the West Coast winner of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. Rendering courtesy Lever Architecture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture aims to promote the construction of tall wood buildings for environmental benefits and to boost a new industry.

The U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, a collaboration the department spearheads in conjunction with the Softwood Lumber Board and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, announced two $1.5 million awards to the winning designs. The winners will use cross-laminated timber to support structures of 10 stories or higher.

Department Secretary Tom Vilsack cited a recent study that showed harvesting, transporting, manufacturing, and using wood in lumber and panel products in construction yields fewer air emissions than other materials. In addition, it promotes more carbon sequestration by putting insect-damaged trees into buildings before a wildfire burns them, he said.

Both of the winning designs were for residential buildings. One is a 10-story condominium project in New York City. The other is a 12-story apartment building in Portland, Oregon.


New York City's 475 West 18th building, by SHoP Architects. It won the East Coast prize in the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. Rendering courtesy SHoP Architects.

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