The Obama administration — more specifically, its Department of Agriculture, headed by Tom Vilsack — has a surprising idea about the future of large building construction.
For environmental purposes but also to potentially stoke a new industry, it wants the United States to explore constructing really big buildings — 10 stories or more — out of wood. Accordingly, the Department backed the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, in conjunction with the Softwood Lumber Board and Binational Softwood Lumber Council. And now two winning buildings, whose selection will be announced Thursday, will receive $1.5 million apiece to try to move toward actual construction.