July 18, 2018

Tall Wood Building Pioneers Industry Research & Development

Proven seismic, fire and acoustic wood performance enables more construction and lifestyle choices for taller buildings

Framework, the 12-story tall wood building planned for Portland’s Pearl District, has announced that the project has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future.   Initiated in 2014 with support from the Softwood Lumber Board, Framework is a pioneering mixed-use project that pushed the boundaries of resilient and sustainable innovation in the U.S. construction market.  According to Framework officials, the postponement is a result of changing market conditions over the past two years including inflation, escalating construction costs, and fluctuations in the tax credit market. All have impacted the project’s bottom line.

Framework was the recipient of a $1.5 million U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize, co-funded by the Softwood Lumber Board, United States Department of Agriculture, and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council to support the research necessary to utilize softwood lumber in mass timber high-rise construction.  This ultimately resulted in permit approval for the project that has paved the way for a new wood construction economy. Framework has also won local and national awards in recognition of its innovative and sustainable design.

The Tall Wood Building Prize supported a rigorous 2-year research and development phase and performance-based review process. The result was global breakthroughs in structural, fire, and acoustical performance testing that proved tall mass timber buildings can comply with U.S. building codes and paved the way for mass timber construction across the country. Framework received building permit approvals from the State of Oregon and the City of Portland in June 2017.

“The innovations in wood construction that are part of the design of the Framework building will help change how America builds in the years to come,” noted Cees de Jager, the Softwood Lumber Board’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This makes good sense for our business.  Modern wood-based building systems create opportunities to grow markets for softwood lumber which in turn support jobs in rural communities,” he elaborated.

Framework’s goal of positive environmental impact established a new model for low carbon, resilient, high-rise buildings. Thanks to the vision and research and development efforts supported by the Softwood Lumber Board, the viability and benefits of tall mass timber construction have been validated and are now publically available for the industry.  By funding Framework’s research, testing and other early adopter costs, the SLB thereby reduced the financial burden of future mass timber projects and accelerated their adoption by the building industry.