The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) is pleased to announce TIMBER IN THE CITY: Urban Habitats Competition for the 2015-2016 academic year. The competition is a partnership between the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the School of Constructed Environments (SCE) at Parsons School of Design. The program is intended to engage students, working individually or in teams to imagine the repurposing of our existing cities with sustainable buildings from renewable resources, offering expedient affordable construction, innovating with new and old wooden materials, and designing healthy living and working environments.


The competition will challenge participants to interpret, invent, and deploy numerous methods of building systems, with a focus on innovations in wood design on a real site. For thousands of years, solid wood has been used as a building material. Modern timber products and systems have greatly expanded the potential uses of this historic material. Timber is an ideal green building material: it is well suited for a broad range of structural and aesthetic applications, it offers economical construction and high performance characteristics; and wood is an economic driver to maintain forests and protect jobs in rural communities.
  Jennifer Cover is a California licensed professional engineer and Executive Director of WoodWorks – Wood Products Council. WoodWorks is a national nonprofit program providing free technical support as well as education and resources related to the code-compliant design of non-residential and multi-family wood buildings. Jennifer started her career in structural design where she was exposed to the beauty and environmental sustainability of wood structures. She has dedicated her career to educating on the design of wood structures both through the wood industry as well as teaching timber design for eight years as an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego.

    Dana Getman is an Associate Principal at SHoP leading some of the firm’s most complex projects. Dana received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University (2004), and a Master of Architecture II from Yale University (2008). She is an expert working with user groups and community stakeholders to build consensus throughout the design and construction process. She regularly gives lectures and has held prestigious teaching positions at Yale and Columbia University.

    Susan Jones, FAIA, founded the firm atelierjones in 2003 the firm seeks out sites, buildings and materials with inherent, but underutilized value—to harvest their embodied energy, their catalytic power for owners and communities, their beauty. Her work creates delight and wonder in leftover, dirty, forgotten places and spaces, and materials, creating new uses in innovative and beautiful ways. atelierjones has forged this crossdisciplinary approach through embracing methodologies mined from sustainability and materials research, from historic preservation and adaptive reuse movements, real estate development as well as community activism.

    Alan Organschi is the design principal and a partner at Gray Organschi Architecture, in New Haven, Connecticut, a firm recognized at the local, regional, and national level for its innovative conception and careful crafting of architectural projects that range from the adaptive re-use of damaged buildings and neighborhoods to the development and implementation of low-impact component assembly systems for ecologically delicate sites. In buildings for both private clients and emergent community institutions, Gray Organschi Architecture has explored the intersection of environmental constraint, social need and available resources to produce architecture that is environmentally sensitive and culturally and physically durable.


Jeff Spiritos is a principal of Spiritos Properties, LLC, a commercial and residential development and development management organization. Founded in January 2004 by Jeff Spiritos, the company participates in ground- up projects in New York, both as principal and as service provider for property owners/developers seeking expertise to accomplish their development objectives. The Company’s focus is to create buildings of purpose while bringing quality architecture to life. Currently, the firm is immersed in the effort to bring tall timber buildings to the commercial and institutional real estate markets in New York City and beyond in the United States.


The Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) was established by the Canadian and U.S. Federal governments as part of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement. The Council’s mandate, as outlined in annex 13 of the agreement, is “to promote increased cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian softwood lumber industries and to strengthen and expand the market for softwood lumber products in both countries.”

The BSLC benefits from the leadership and expertise of its 12 member board which consists of Canadian and U.S. senior industry representatives and stakeholders. The construct of this board is unique within the industry and offers an influential and powerful vehicle to establish strategic direction for market development programs, direct broad industry initiatives, and facilitate collaboration among
organizations serving the North American softwood lumber industry. Underpinning the BSLC’s efforts is a firm belief that the relationship between the Canadian and American industries can only improve when the lumber market is sufficiently robust for both industries to first stabilize, and then to prosper. We also believe that this will only come about through increased demand for new and previous uses of lumber products. Since its inception, the BSLC has actively supported initiatives by a variety of industry organizations that meet the mandate. Funds have been directed into programs in which immediate opportunities can be quickly exploited for a fast turnaround in identifiable demand. Clear benefits have already been achieved for the North American softwood lumber industry as the result of some of these programs.
The School of Constructed Environments (SCE) at Parsons School for Design, The New School, located in New York City, challenges students to grapple with forces shaping the world today: shifts in global and local ecological flows, changes in living patterns, growing economic disparities, excessive consumption, and increasing ethnic diversity. Architecture, interior, lighting, and product design students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels work with faculty and citizens of global communities to learn the skills of design engagement, integrated thinking, and material invention in a collective effort to reimagine the constructed environment.

SCE offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architectural Design and a Professional Master of Architecture Degree program, with opportunities for cross-disciplinary work and a dual degree with the Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design. SCE draws on the vibrant design culture of New York City, bringing together over 200 engaged faculty and professionals to work with students in addressing the pressing questions of today, transforming them into design opportunities for a better future.
      Administrative Organization: The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The school membership in ACSA has grown from 10 charter members to over 250 schools in several membership categories. These include full membership for all accredited programs in the United States and government-sanctioned schools in Canada, candidate membership for schools seeking accreditation, and affiliate membership for schools for two-year and international programs. Through these schools, over 5,000 architecture faculty members are represented. In addition, over 500 supporting members composed of architecture firms, product associations and individuals add to the breadth of interest and support of ACSA goals. ACSA provides a major 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 member schools.


The competition had over 350 participants from the following schools:

Andrews University

Arizona State University

Boston Architectural College

California Polytechnic State University

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Carnegie Mellon University

City College of New York

Clemson University

Cuesta College

Drury University

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

Harvard University

Iowa State University

Kansas State University

Laurentian University

Louisiana Tech University

Mississippi State University

New School of Architecture & Design

New York City College of Technology

New York Institute of Technology

Oklahoma State University

Pennsylvania State University

Philadelphia University

Rhode Island School of Design

Rochester Institute of Technology

Ryerson University

Southern Illinois University

Texas A&M University

The New School

Universidad Anáhuac

Université Laval

University of British Columbia

University of Idaho

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Kansas

University of Manitoba

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

University of North Carolina Charlotte

University of Oklahoma

University of Oregon

University of Southern California

University of Texas at Austin

University of Utah

University of Virginia

University of Washington

University of Waterloo

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Virginia Tech

Washington University in St. Louis

Wentworth Institute of Technology