This article first appeared in ARCHITECT.
As of late last year, Framework, in Portland, Ore., was on track to becoming the tallest mass timber building in the U.S. Designed by local firm Lever Architecture, the 12-story project was awarded a building permit in June 2017. In November 2017, the City of Portland announced a $6 million investment for the inclusion of 60 affordable housing units in the structure. Despite this progress, the project has been canceled due to financial reasons, according to a Willamette Week article published yesterday.
"Although beset with market challenges beyond our control, we are very proud of Framework's achievements and the new standards we've established for the use of CLT in the U.S.," a representative from Framework developer Project^ said in a statement to the local paper.
Framework was one of two projects recognized in the 2015 U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, which awarded each winner $1.5 million in funding to support the research and development of their proposed structures. Construction plans for the other project—a 10-story mass timber condominium in New York designed by SHoP Architects—were also abandoned due to financial reasons in March 2017.
Despite the investments by the City of Portland and the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, Project^ was still reportedly coming up short in securing funds for the $29 million structure, according to Willamette Week.
"The postponement is a result of changing market conditions over the past two years including inflation, escalating construction costs, and fluctuations in the tax credit market," a project representative emailed CityLab senior editor (and former ARCHITECT contributor and staff member) Amanda Kolson Hurley, according to Hurley's tweet. "All have impacted the project’s bottom line.”
Got a statement via email: “The postponement is a result of changing market conditions over the past two years including inflation, escalating construction costs, and fluctuations in the tax credit market. All have impacted the project’s bottom line.” https://t.co/HFVUKBbawz— Amanda Kolson Hurley (@amandakhurley) July 17, 2018
In general, Oregon has recently seen a political push for increased research in and utilization of cross-laminated timber to help revitalize the local industry. Last week, Oregon senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden helped secure a $500,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for research on the durability of cross-laminated timber at Oregon State University. Portland is also already home to one of the country's tallest mass timber structures, Carbon12, an eight-story, mixed-use structure designed by local firm Path Architecture.
In August 2017, ARCHITECT interviewed Lever Architecture founder Thomas Robinson, AIA, as part of its ArchitectChats podcast series "Timber on the Rise." During the episode, Robinson discussed his firm's work on mass-timber projects.
Lever Architecture did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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