Washington, D.C. — This fall, the National Building Museum 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. The exhibition will open September 17, 2016 and run through May 21, 2017.

Architect’s rendering of two American-manufactured, CLT panels set to be installed in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall during Timber City. Image by ikd.


Timber City will illustrate the 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 (CLT), and explore how U.S.-based timber production can help revitalize rural manufacturing communities and benefit urban centers 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 63 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.

Related public programs

September 20 — "Murray Grove: A Pioneering Case Study in Tall Timber Construction" — London’s Murray Grove was the world’s first tall timber residential building and has initiated a new timber architecture in Europe and elsewhere. The building’s designer, Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects, will use the project as a case study to talk about his practice’s pioneering work in tall timber building and construction.

October 1 — Tour of Martha C. Cutts Gymnasium at Washington Latin Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.

October 13 — "Spotlight on Design: Tall and Taller, Still" — The use of wood products in tall building construction has evolved to become the latest innovation in building technologies. So much so that the USDA and the Softwood Lumber Board recently awarded $3 million to two tall timber building projects in New York City and Seattle. Christopher Sharples (SHoP), Thomas Robinson (LEVER  Architecture); and Hans-Erik Blomgren (Arup) will discuss the projects, and the benefits of tall timber construction.

December 12 — Talk by architect Susan Jones on the emotional impact of using building materials such as wood (details TBD).

Find program details at www.nbm.org.

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