An upcoming design competition presented by Moses Structural Engineers and Ryerson University will see architecture and civil engineering students at Ryerson University build fully-functional installations made entirely out of wood. TimberFever Design-Build Challenge, as the event is titled, will take place September 24th and 25th on the Ryerson University campus and will feature eight teams composed of four to six students coming together to bridge gaps in their respective disciplines and create collaborative designs that help shape the future of construction in Toronto.

TimberFever 2015, image courtesy of TimberFeverTimberFever 2015, image courtesy of TimberFever

Aimed at reducing knowledge gaps and forging networks between different professional fields, the contest will allow students in these disciplines to collaborate on a design brief that will be handed to the teams at the start of the competition, ensuring that all participants have the same time and resources to build their project. In addition, TimberFever aims to promote the use of wood in design and construction, especially in the context of recent changes to the Ontario Building Code allowing for the construction of wooden buildings of up to six storeys.

The Quadrangle-designed Heartwood The Beach will be the first new wood-framed 6-The Quadrangle-designed Heartwood The Beach will be the first new wood-framed 6-storey building in Toronto, image via Quadrangle

As in many other jurisdictions, regulations in Ontario have long limitied the maximum height of wooden-frame buildings (in Ontario's case, to four storeys), with restrictions put in place partially as a result of the great fires experienced by North American cities throughout the 19th and 20th century. However, technological improvements have revolutionized building techniques and made the construction of fire-resistant structures possible, allowing for taller wooden structures to fill the void of mid-rise buildings in Toronto. Among these technologies, the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) stands out at the vanguard of wood-based design, with its ability to be assembled off-site improving construction times and reducing the inconveniences experienced by neighbourhoods surrounding building sites.

The competition's simple requirements often allow for surprisingly innovative deThe competition's simple requirements often allow for surprisingly innovative designs, image courtesy of TimberFever

In the face of changing construction landscapes, TimberFever will give Ryerson University students the chance to collaborate on revolutionary designs that will supplement a nascent influx of wooden mid-rise construction in Toronto. The event will feature assistance by the Carpenters Loc. 27 Union in order to ensure the safety of the participants and oversee the proper usage of tools, which will be provided by Stanley. The winning team will receive a cash prize of $750, followed by cash prizes of $500 and $350 for the second and third-placing teams, respectively. In addition, a cash prize of $200 will be handed out to the winner of the People's Choice Award.

We will keep you updated with the result of the competition later this month. In the meantime, feel free to express your thoughts in the comment section below.