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£1.25M prize offered for tall building design ideas

A US$2m (£1.25M) prize is being offered for design ideas which will allow taller wooden buildings to be constructed.

The Tall Wood Building Prize Competition invites developers, contractors and designers in the USA to devise “an alternative approach to designing and building taller wood structures”.

It has been launched by the US Department of Agriculture, and is backed by trade bodies the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC).

The organisers say the competition has been launched to “showcase the application and sustainability of innovative wood-based structural building materials and solutions”.

Entries can be submitted for building projects in the concept, schematic, or design-development stage “that safely and successfully demonstrate the use of wood as a viable structural material in tall buildings”.

The rules state that “the competition prize purse will be awarded to selected proponent(s) to cover the incremental costs of converting from traditional construction to wood construction. The selected proponent(s) will be the team demonstrating the best ability to utilise new scientific data, to develop technical expertise, and to use incremental funding to safely design, specify, and construct a building of a minimum of 24.4m in height.”

The deadline for entries is 8 December 2014. Further details are available on the competition website.

Marc Brinkmeyer, SLB board chair, said: “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 US, is very exciting for our industry, our employees and communities. Wood is an optimal choice for the environment and economy.”

The Forte scheme in Melbourne is 32.2m high. The UK’s tallest timber-framed apartment building is the nine-storey Stadthaus in Hackney, London.

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