How can we help create a sustainable built environment in the future? One way is to help educate the architects who will be designing it about the embodied carbon benefits of using wood as a structural material today.
That’s why the Softwood Lumber Board partnered with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture, and the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design to hold the 2022 Timber Competition. This student design contest—which, in previous years, was sponsored by the ACSA and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council—invites entrants from accredited schools of architecture around the country to solve real-world design problems. The teams create designs that innovate with timber construction to create a vibrant model of healthy, biophilic urban living. Those entries are then judged by a panel of leading educators, who select the winners.
With more than 600 entries, this fourth iteration of the competition—themed Timber in the City 4: Urban Habitats—demonstrates a rising tide of interest in timber design and construction. Students are eager to learn more about designing with systems that they are seeing garner more attention in a national and international spotlight. The number of mass timber projects in the U.S. is growing by the day, but with more than 17,000 commercial buildings built annually, there is still a long way go. That’s why “it is important to reach the architecture students of today who will be shaping the built environment of tomorrow and expose them to the sustainable benefits that mass timber and other Softwood products can contribute to their efforts,” says Reed Kelterborn, the SLB’s director of education.
Historically, architectural education has focused more heavily on teaching design principles using structural materials like steel and concrete rather than timber. With the Timber Competition, the SLB is helping provide a timber-focused education opportunity to educate students about the environmental benefits of designing with wood.
For Timber in the City 4: Urban Habitats, students were asked to come up with designs for a mid-rise, mixed-use complex that included short-stay housing, a large community wellness facility, and an urban marketplace, all interconnected with a new urban transit center in midtown Atlanta. Eight projects were selected as winners—first, second, and third-place awards and five honorable mentions—from student teams at seven schools, including the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the City College of New York (which had three winners), the Savannah College of Art and Design, Boston Architectural College, Harvard University, and North Carolina State University. To read about the winning entries, visit www.acsa-arch.org or thinkwood.com/timbercomp2022.