Binational Softwood Lumber Council joins architecture, design groups in campaign to showcase wood as green material for urban construction, challenges young architects to design mid-rise complex for Brooklyn waterfront site

NEW YORK , October 17, 2012 (press release) – Timber in the City Competition Challenges Young Architects to Design Mid-Rise, Mixed-Use Complex

By Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; Binational Softwood Lumber Council; Parsons The New School for Design

Wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years, but when it comes to urban construction, American cities are predominantly steel and concrete. A new design competition, organized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), and Parsons The New School for Design seeks to change that mindset.

Timber in the City: Urban Habitats challenges architecture students and young professionals, working individually or in teams, to design a mid-rise, mixed-use complex for a site in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, an industrial and residential area that is currently in flux, with a population of public housing residents and working artists and designers, and a number of new residential and commercial developments such as Ikea. With a focus on regenerating the urban manufacturing sector and addressing New York's housing needs, entrants are being tasked with incorporating affordable housing units; a bike sharing and repair shop; as well as a vocational, manufacturing and distribution center for the innovative use of wood technology.

"Timber is ideal for green building – it has a lower overall environmental and carbon footprint than other materials and is renewable," said Cees de Jager, executive director of BSLC. "Wood is well suited for a broad range of structural and aesthetic applications, is high performance, and, in many cases, is a more economical choice."

Innovations in wood technologies are offering new opportunities for large-scale construction in this sustainable material. From long-span laminated beams to cross-laminated timber panels, wood has proven to be a safe and durable for urban settings. These systems are already being used in major cities around the world, from Europe to Australia and Canada. This includes such highly acclaimed projects as architect Andrew Waugh's Murray Grove in North London, the world's tallest residential building made of cross-laminated timber panels.

Entrants will be challenged to propose construction systems that draw optimally on the performance characteristics of a variety of wood technologies, and incorporate the creative and innovative use of wood in its design. A distinguished panel of judges will award the winning teams with cash prizes totaling $30,000, and the projects will be publicly exhibited at the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting in Miami and the American Institute of Architects 2014 Convention in Chicago.

"At Parsons, our students and faculty have seen firsthand how wood can serve as an ideal green building material in an urban setting," said Andrew Bernheimer, director of the Master of Architecture program at Parsons. "It has become clear to us that wood is not only environmentally friendly, but also affordable, through recent design-build projects such as Empowerhouse, our entry into the Solar Decathlon, which won the affordability category and is now being constructed by Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C."

Entrants must register by March 6, 2013 and submit their project by May 22, 2013. The design jury will meet July 2013 to select winning projects and honorable mentions. For full details on the competition visit the ACSA website.

Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture

Founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) represents all accredited programs and their faculty across the United States and Canada, as well as nonaccredited and international affiliate members around the world. ACSA, unique in its representative role for schools of architecture, provides a forum for ideas on the leading edge of architectural thought. Issues that will affect the architectural profession in the future are being examined today in ACSA members schools. The association maintains a variety of activities that influence, communicate, and record important issues. Such endeavors include scholarly meetings, workshops, publications, awards and competition programs, support for architectural research, policy development, and liaison with allied organizations. For more information, please visit

Binational Softwood Lumber Council

The Binational Softwood Lumber Council, a nonprofit organization, was established in 2006 by the Canadian and U.S. governments. The council is leading the effort to increase the use of wood products as part of the shift to green building. Sustainably harvested wood products from North America create jobs in rural communities, sequester significant amounts of carbon and help reduce the overall environmental footprint of a home or building. Council's effort includes initiatives that bring together expertise from various disciplines to promote the use of North American wood products in green building. It is an excellent example of the council's ability to bring together landowners, private businesses and government agencies from Canada and the U.S. to achieve a common goal. For more information, visit

Parsons The New School for Design

Parsons The New School for Design is a global leader in design education, with programs that span the disciplines of design and the fine arts. Parsons prepares students to creatively and critically address the complex conditions of contemporary global society. Its curriculum is geared toward synthesizing rigorous craft with cutting-edge theory and research methods, and encourages collaborative and individual approaches that cut across a wide array of disciplines. The School of Constructed Environments at Parsons is the only integrated school of interior design, lighting design, product design and architecture in the country. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; Binational Softwood Lumber Council; Parsons The New School for Design

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