Timber City exhibition redefines a classic building material

475 West 18th, New York. Image: 2015 SHoP Architects PC.

This fall, the National Building Museum in Washington DC will challenge the notion that wood is an antiquated building material when it opens Timber City. The new exhibition will demonstrate the wide range of benefits offered by cutting-edge methods of timber construction, including surprising strength, fire resistance, sustainability, and beauty.

Timber City will illustrate the proven value of timber as a modern, strong, and versatile building material through featured projects. Curated and designed by Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura, founding partners of the Boston-based architectural design firm ikd, the exhibition will examine the recent boom in timber construction worldwide and highlight U.S. based projects, including the two competition winners of the recent Tall Wood Building Prize, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

An immersive installation will examine recent innovations of timber technology, especially cross-laminated timber, known as CLT, and explore how U.S. based timber production can help revitalise rural manufacturing communities and benefit urban centres in a wide range of ways. As the only building material that can both reduce carbon emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere, timber is uniquely positioned to move us towards more sustainable, healthy, and beautiful buildings and cities.

As part of the exhibition’s run, two American-manufactured massive timber panels will be installed in the National Building Museum’s historic Great Hall. The vertical panel will stand 64 feet tall, soaring to the Museum’s third floor level, and the horizontal panel will be 40 feet wide.

Timber City is funded in part by the USDA Forest Service and the Softwood Lumber Board. Timber City has been adapted from an exhibition organized by ikd for BSAspace at the Boston Society of Architects.

The exhibition will open September 17, 2016 and run through May 21, 2017.