Recent Opportunities

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The City Above the City Competition

THE CITY ABOVE THE CITY challenges architects and students of architecture from around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants are asked to select a centrally-located building in one of the world’s most populated cities and develop an innovative wood design solution that adds density through additional floor area. Known buildings, especially buildings under threat of demolition  are encouraged as sites for revitalization, new development and innovation.

Housing the world’s growing urban population is one of the most significant challenges facing humanity today. Currently, half of the world’s population live in cities. By 2050, 2/3 of the world’s population will live in urban areas.  Cities must develop strategically to meet these immense housing demands along with the associated infrastructure.  Too often the proposed solutions to this problem show little regard for the existing framework of our cities, choosing instead to replace the old with new, at great environmental, social, and cultural cost. The greatest design challenge then, is not only to build new structures, but to build upon the existing fabric of our cities, knitting together old and new. Today, engineered wood offers designers an incredible opportunity to meet this challenge. New wood products allow designers to build taller structures that are much lighter than alternative materials (steel and concrete) while still meeting strict criteria for fire resistance and/or seismic challenges. All this can be achieved using a natural, beautiful material – grown by the sun.

The properties of wood material are utilized best when building up. The tallest trees in the world grow to forty storeys tall. There is no reason why our building too, cannot reach even higher in wood. Utilizing the inherent strength of wood fiber there are countless new possibilities to explore.
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SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
312.573.1365
Copyright - (c) 2012