Mass Timber Competition

Three Mass Timber Buildings - UMass, Platte 15 and Outpost


Building to Net-Zero Carbon

Designed to expand the use of mass timber in the United States, the Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon showcases mass timber’s application, practicality, commercial viability, and role as a natural climate solution that reduces the carbon footprint of the built environment. The Competition is intended to help expand the use of mass timber building solutions and support increased employment in advanced wood products design, engineering, construction, supply chain, and manufacturing sectors.

The SLB and USDA fund the competition. The funding supports costs associated with the use of mass timber or mass timber hybrid building systems and construction. Funding also helps project teams overcome barriers to the use of a new building material and system, most notably the costs of analyzing design and engineering alternatives and verifying that these solutions comply with applicable code(s).

Recent Updates

  • Evergreen Charter School: Construction is underway, with the ground breaking taking place in 2023.
  • Return to Form: A  Return to Form Comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study is the first in a series examining the embodied carbon, speed, and cost of mass timber versus other building systems. The study compares Return to Form, a 12-story, 84-unit residential building designed with mass timber, to functionally equivalent cold-formed steel (CFS) and concrete alternatives
  • Up@310 Lofts: To celebrate the start of construction, the team held a “hat tipping” ceremony in March, tipping the team’s hard hats to the supporters who made the project a success.  In addition to the celebratory ceremony, architect Randall Walter, Principal of Lignin Group, spoke in an SLB-sponsored webinar about mass timber overbuilds for alongside architects from Gray Organschi Architecture and Hickok Cole Architects featuring their own firms’ mass timber overbuild projects.

2023 Competition Recap

In October 2023, the SLB and USDA Forest Service announced five winners of the 2023 Mass Timber Competition. The winning projects received funds totaling $2.2 million to demonstrate mass timber’s applications in architectural design and highlight its significant role in reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment. A blog post profiling the five winners can be found on Think Wood.

CODA Detroit

A 95,000-square-foot, five-story mixed-use residential project.

Detroit, Michigan

Project Team: OOMBRA Architects, Brush Park Properties / IN Development Partners, JDH Engineering, Britt Peters and Associates, and AM Higley.

Update: Project is in Development and Planning Phase

Up@310 Lofts

An overbuild that will add three stories and 57 apartments on top of a steel building.

Keene, New Hampshire

Project Team: Lignin Group, Tim Olson, Banwell Architects, 310 Marlboro St., and Entuitive.

Update: Under construction and to be completed in December 2024.

Via/NWA IC Program

A pilot housing project, consisting of four market-rate and affordable multifamily residential buildings totaling 131 units.

Springdale, Arkansas

Project Team: A226, Blue Crane, Modus Studio, Tatum-Smith-Welcher, Aspect Structural Engineers, and Arco Construction.

Update: Project is in Pre-Construction Phase

The Village SF Wellness Center

A six-story, 45,000-square-foot mixed-use commercial and multifamily project with the goal to reclaim physical and cultural space for urban American Indians.

San Francisco, California

Project Team: PYATOK architecture + urban design, The Friendship House Association of American Indians, DCI Engineers, and Cahill Contractors.

Update: Project is in Development and Planning Phase

Woolsey Gardens

An eight-story, 59,570-square-foot high-rise multifamily project with commercial space on the first floor and a permanently affordable housing community above.

Berkeley, California

Project Team: Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Northern California Land Trust, Tipping Structural Engineers, Swinerton Builders, and Timberlab.

Update: Project is in Development and Planning Phase

2022 Competition Recap and Project Updates

In June 2022, the SLB and USDA Forest Service announced the winners of the first competition. Six projects were chosen for their ability to demonstrate mass timber’s innovative, scalable applications in architectural design and to highlight its significant role in reducing the built environment’s carbon footprint. The winning projects, which shared $2 million in total funding, are listed below. A blog post profiling the winners can be found on Think Wood.

Return to Form

12-story multifamily and retail project in Denver, Colorado, which will include affordable housing units.

Denver, Colorado

Project team: Katz Development, Timberlab, KL&A Engineers and Builders, and Tres Birds

Update: Project team completed a whole-building life cycle analysis (WBLCA), construction to begin Q4 2024.

Evergreen Charter School

An 85,000-square-foot gymnasium.

Hempstead, New York

Project team: Martin Hopp Architect, Consigli, and Odeh Engineers

Update: Under construction and to be completed in December 2024.

INTRO Cleveland — Phase 2

A multifamily high-rise building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland, Ohio

Project team: Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, and Forefront Structural Engineers.

Update: Project is in Design Phase

Each project pledges to use wood sourced from sustainably managed forests, and many prioritize mass timber that is both domestically harvested and manufactured. Lessons from these projects will be shared with the broader design and construction communities to support project development and replication, including research about cost analyses and life-cycle assessments.