Courtesy of Lever Architecture The 12-story Framework building in Portland, Ore., was on track to be the tallest mass timber structure in the U.S. before its plans were scrapped last month due to financing issues.

Oregon has become the first state to legalize the construction of mass timber buildings exceeding six stories in height under its statewide alternate method, according to the American Wood Council (AWC). Passed as part of a recent addendum to the state's building code, this legislation will enable the more widespread adoption of mass timber construction in the state, and sets a precedent for other states to follow. “Mass timber is a new category of wood products that will revolutionize how America builds, and we’ve seen interest in it continue to grow over the last several years," said AWC president and CEO Robert Glowinski in the organization's press release. "This action by the codes division administrator helps code officials in Oregon by making provisions consistent throughout the state.” [AWC]

On Thursday, mayors from 19 cities around the world—including eight in the U.S.—signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration, pledging to ensure all new construction is built with a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. These cities have also promised that all structures—new or old—will meet net-zero standards by 2050. The signatory cities are Copenhagen; Johannesburg; London; Los Angeles; Montreal; New York City; Newburyport, Mass.; Paris; Portland; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Sydney; Tokyo; Toronto; Tshwane, South Africa; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Washington, D.C. [World Green Building Council]

Printed Paper Actuator from Morphing Matter Lab on Vimeo.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburg have trained paper to bend, fold, and flatten using a low-cost actuation technology. When an electrical current is applied to a piece of paper that has been treated with a thin layer of conducting thermoplastic using a 3D printer, the thermoplastic heats and expands causing the paper to change shape. Once the current is removed, the paper returns to its original shape. The researchers believe the technology can someday be "used to construct more elaborate objects, such as a lamp shade that changes its shape and the amount of light it emits, or an artificial mimosa plant with leaf petals that sequentially open when one is touched," according to a university press release. [CMU]

The use of drones to survey project sites is becoming more common among builders and engineers. For architects, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer a distinct vantage point from which they can study and document sites for research and marketing opportunities. Read more for strategies incorporating UAVs into design workflows. [ARCHITECT]

A team from the City University of Hong Kong claim to have developed the first-ever 4D printing process for ceramics in a recent report published in the journal Science Advances. While conventional ceramic materials are difficult to print due to their high melting point, the "ceramic ink" created by the City University researchers incorporates polymers and ceramic nanoparticles, resulting in a more stretchable and flexible material for complex and intricate structures. [ScienceDaily]

As BIM software has advanced, the project visualization elements it provides only scratch the surface of its potentials uses. Now, some firms are using the data extracted from these programs to streamline workflows, assess project goals, and deliver post occupancy reports. [AIA ARCHITECT]