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Wood High-Rise Designs in Portland, New York Get $1.5 Million

The 475 West 18th project in New York (Rendering: SHoP Architects)

Big building projects in New York and Portland are getting a $3 million funding boost thanks to their innovative plans for wood. Portland’s Framework and New York’s 475 West 18th were awarded money to help them explore sustainable-minded designs through the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition.

Advancing technology has improved timber’s potential in high-rise construction. A developer in Minneapolis is working on what would be America’s first large-scale office building made of wood.

“The U.S. wood products industry is vitally important as it employs more than 547,000 people in manufacturing and forestry, with another 2.4 million jobs supported by U.S. private-forest owners,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said during the announcement of the winners. “By embracing the benefits of wood as a sustainable building material, these demonstration projects have the ability to help change the face of our communities, mitigate climate change and support jobs in rural America.” (The U.S. Department of Agriculture teamed up with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council to hold the competition. Each winning developer will receive $1.5 million.)

Portland’s Framework project, in the city’s Pearl District, would be a 12-story building made of cross-laminated timber that would house retail, office and community space.

Portland’s Framework project

“On a national scale this project will be catalytic, leading to more tall wood buildings, driving more wood products and wood product innovation, and boosting rural economic development,” said Tom Cody, principal on the project.

In New York, 475 West 18th will incorporate wood and locally sourced renewable materials that will make the condo building more sustainable overall and, ideally, cut current energy consumption by at least 50 percent.