UI Students Earn Honors In "Best Use of Idaho Wood" Design Competition

Thursday, December 19 2013

MOSCOW, Idaho – Reducing energy consumption and using renewable resources, University of Idaho architecture students are earning honors for the “Best Use of Idaho Wood” in design as they earn an education.

Taking top honors in the competition was Kevin Noble, of Evergreen, Colo., who earned a first place trophy, a certificate and $500 with his winning design. Bryan Kamin, of Pittsburg, Penn., and Clay Reiland, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, earned second place certificates and split the $250 award. Wesley O’Brien, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Meghan Craig, of Carson City, Nev., claimed third place and were awarded certificates and split a $250 prize.

“I had a lot of fun working on this project. I already have a strong passion for wood because I design and create a lot of handmade wood furniture, so this was a project I was very excited about,” said Noble. “Trees are an incredible natural resource. I believe it is the material of the future.”

Noble’s design used several native Idaho woods, which he incorporated in design elements to protect the wood and people from the elements. Noble also integrated net-zero expectations, including producing electricity on site with photovoltaics and capturing enough water from the roof to provide water service for toilets and covered vegetation.

The contest, sponsored by the Idaho Forest Products Commission and the American Institute of Architecture Idaho Chapter, aims to encourage, recognize and support the creative and innovative use of Idaho wood in architectural design. As part of the project, students learned about forest management in a tour of the UI experimental forest and visited a sawmill to see first-hand how lumber is produced. The project culminated with the design competition juried by a team of three architects and a forest industry professional including UI Professor Emeritus D. Nels Reese, architects Mark Pynn of Sun Valley and Chris Patano of Seattle/Coeur d’Alene and forester Mike Boeck of Tri Pro Cedar Products.

During an awards luncheon on the UI campus, keynote speakers Chris Patano of Patano Hafferman Architects in Seattle and Coeur d’Alene and Kevin Esser, chief financial officer of Idaho Forest Group, spoke to UI students about wood in architectural design and the future of wood as a building resource.

In the second year of the competition, 12 graduate students in architecture professor Bruce Haglund’s comprehensive graduate studio participated, comprising seven teams of one or two students.

"The jury was as impressed as I with the quality of design and innovative use of wood in the building,” said Haglund. “The students have proven to themselves that wood construction is a viable and sustainable option for large buildings."

Students were challenged to develop a net-zero energy laboratory building constructed of wood for the UI campus. While wood is a common building element, students were encouraged to explore new, innovative ways in which to use it.

“I think the studio as a whole gained experience in sustainable design and how different systems need to come together to create an integrated project,” said Reiland. “It was also great to meet and converse with the judges and different people who turned up for the banquet. Hearing praise from peers and potential employers is a great way to end the semester and this project.”

Reiland and Kamin combined a well-insulated envelope with passive design strategies in order to reduce energy consumption and reduce the total carbon footprint of the building, while providing a strong, long lasting structure with a fast construction time.

“I think that the design strategies that we implemented are great examples of how architects and owners should be thinking about new construction,” said Kamin. “Even though these design strategies are not new ideas, they are becoming increasing important in the modern world due to increasingly scarce resources.”

Betty Munis, executive director of the Idaho Forests Products Commission, said the idea behind the competition was to create a dialogue between the people providing the wood and the people using it - architects. Plus she noted it's important to highlight that using locally grown wood products in Idaho-based construction projects is a progressive practice recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council because it saves energy, and reduces transportation costs and the carbon footprint to use local materials.

"The whole idea was to enlighten and inspire," Munis said. "The students’ designs really confirm our goal. The students know that wood is a resource in their own backyard, and it makes sense to be using this renewable, sustainable material. They won't ever look trees, forests and wood products in the same way."

**Media Contacts: Betty Munis, Idaho Forest Products Commission, (208) 334-3292, ifpc@idahoforests.org, www.idahoforests.org

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