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Design Competition Asks Students to Create Greener City Construction

Architecture students are being challenged to propose construction designs that incorporate sustainably harvested timber.

We take for granted that the concrete and steel urban skylines we're all used to will be around in another hundred years, and that new buildings will be constructed out of those same materials. The problem is the production of those materials is pretty energy intensive and generates massive amounts of carbon dioxide. So how do today's architecture students learn greener techniques? A new design competition, Timber in the City: Urban Habitats, seeks to inspire them to create cityscapes with buildings made from that renewable, old-school material: wood.

This isn't just a thought exercise, either. The competition, hosted by Parsons The New School for Design, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council is asking students and recent grads to create a mixed-use, healthy living/working complex in Brookyln's Red Hook neighborhood. Along with affordable housing units, the students are asked to include "a bike sharing and repair shop" and "a vocational, manufacturing, and distribution center for the innovative use of wood technology."

Students will also "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." If visions of the Amazon being deforested just entered your head, it turns out that sustainably harvested timber is already being used on acclaimed projects like architect Andrew Waugh’s Murray Grove in North London, which is now the world’s tallest residential building made of cross-laminated timber panels.

Coming up with a truly innovative plan takes some time so students have until March 6, 2013 to register and until May 22, 2013 to submit their project. Winners will be selected next summer.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Incase.

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