The effects of construction on the global climate are a growing concern worldwide. The design disciplines and the public already recognize the environmental benefits of highly efficient buildings that minimize operational energy consumption. As a result, we have been able to significantly improve and optimize the performance of environmental control and envelope systems, making net-zero-energy and plus-energy buildings possible. However, these developments highlight the need to take the next step—reducing the embodied energy content of our buildings since it now constitutes a considerable portion of their total lifetime energy use. So, where do we go from here? The answer may lie in the forest.
Recent life cycle assessment studies demonstrate that buildings made of wood require the least energy compared to those constructed from other building materials. Since a large quantity of the total material used in a building is attributed to its structural system, using wood for the primary structure can lead to significant reductions in energy consumption while curbing associated carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, innovations in engineering and the emergence of mass timber products can allow architects and designers to use wood in mid-and high-rise construction applications.
The increasing popularity of these novel approaches underscores the need for architecture students to become proficient in designing and applying wood products and timber building systems as viable, sustainable alternatives to more conventional construction methods. This skill set will be essential for future practitioners as they strive to satisfy our society’s need for less energy- and carbon-intensive buildings, making the integration of dedicated coursework into architectural education necessary.
To this end, the Timber Education Prize seeks to recognize effective, innovative courses and curricula that create a stimulating and evidence-based environment for learning about timber. The use of wood as a building material can achieve multiple design, construction, and performance objectives. Therefore, these courses should equip students with the knowledge and design skills to achieve green building goals in a range of project types. From seminars and design studios to building technology classes and structures lessons, the variety of courses offered at schools of architecture demonstrates the importance of sustainable education with renewable timber at the core.
Up to five proposals will be selected by the jury for eight thousand dollars in cash prizes and two thousand dollars in support to present the winning course proposals at the ACSA110th Annual Meeting. To receive the cash prize and support, winners must demonstrate viability for the course at their host institution within two years of the prize’s distribution via a letter from their program’s head administrator. Developed syllabi of winning proposals will be published on the ACSA websites.
Submissions will be accepted through an online interface and must be received by October 20, 2021. The final submission upload must contain the following:
Course Proposal (three pages)—The course proposal should consist of a title, course description, a list of selected readings or other sources, and a work plan for course development and implementation.
Faculty Bio—If multiple faculty are involved, include all (entire bio submission not to exceed two pages).
Letter of Support—A letter from the head administrator of the architecture program (one page) that shows support for the course to be included in a future academic year.
All materials should be submitted in PDF format, with no more than six (8.5” x 11”) pages total.
Because the support of SLB is largely derived from companies whose markets are mainly in the U.S., the Timber Education Prize is open to faculty and/or faculty teams from ACSA Full and Candidate Member Schools, as well as ACSA Affiliate Members Schools from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
A three-person jury of educators will review the submissions and determine Prize winners. Special consideration will be given to course proposals that include methods and themes that innovate within their institutional setting.
Timber Education Prize program written and developed by: Uli Dangel, The University of Texas at Austin; along with ACSA & the Softwood Lumber Board.
Founded in 1912 by 10 charter members, ACSA is an international association of architecture schools preparing future architects, designers, and change agents. Our membership includes all of the accredited professional degree programs in the United States and Canada, as well as international schools and 2- and 4-year programs. Together ACSA schools represent some 7,000 faculty educating more than 40,000 students.
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