Fay Jones School Hosts Symposium on Design Excellence in Timber and Wood

The Timber! Design Excellence in Timber and Wood Symposium will bring together an international cohort of architects and engineers whose work specifically in wood demonstrates excellence in design and innovation.
Artwork by Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design

The Timber! Design Excellence in Timber and Wood Symposium will bring together an international cohort of architects and engineers whose work specifically in wood demonstrates excellence in design and innovation.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and the U.S. Forest Service will host the Timber! Design Excellence in Timber and Wood Symposium on Oct. 4-6 on the University of Arkansas campus.

This three-day event brings together an international cohort of architects and engineers whose work specifically in wood demonstrates excellence in design and innovation. While the sustainable argument for the use of mass timber is clear and the economics of its production, distribution and construction applications are improving, demonstration of mass timber as a material capable of true design excellence must now have the foreground.

“Since my arrival in 2014, I’ve asked questions of imperative value for the Fay Jones School,” said Dean Peter MacKeith. “Chief among them has been, ‘What does it mean to be a school of architecture and design in a state 60 percent covered in forest?’”

The school’s overarching commitment to collaborative, interdisciplinary design education addressing issues of imperative value for the state, region and nation has led to focus points on Arkansas’ cultural heritage (preservation design), societal well-being (design for health and aging), community stability and growth (resiliency design) and, in the case of its focus on the Arkansas forests, environmental and economic development (timber and wood design and innovation). In all cases, the school applies design thinking and design method to produce demonstrable, significant contributions to the state.

“This line of questioning has led us to the present point of productive work on behalf of the school, the university, the state and the nation,” MacKeith said.

Engaging the entirety of the school’s three departments and its two state-focused outreach centers – the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Garvan Woodland Gardens – the school’s emphasis on catalyzing the potentials and opportunities of Arkansas’ forests now has attained multiple forms of activity, production and impact.

“The symposium is the most overt example of this,” MacKeith said.

The symposium will feature 15 internationally recognized architects and engineers whose designs in wood best illustrate the beauty and potential of wood in general and of mass timber specifically. By gathering these prominent designers and focusing their expertise and experience, the symposium seeks to elevate the perception of mass timber and wood innovation in the design community and advance its use overall.

Symposium participants include:

  • Andrea Leers of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Boston
  • John Patkau of Patkau Architects, Vancouver, Canada
  • Tanya Luthi of Entuitive, New York
  • Thomas Robinson of LEVER Architecture, Portland, Oregon
  • Ulrich Dangel of University of Texas-Austin, Austin
  • Alan Organschi of Gray Organschi Architecture, New Haven, Connecticut
  • Kelly Harrison of HTS Structural Engineers, London, England
  • Jeremy Smith of Irving Smith Architects, Nelson, New Zealand
  • Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects, London, England
  • Natalie Telewiak of Michael Green Architecture, Vancouver, Canada
  • Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA, Helsinki, Finland
  • Aaron Dorf of Snøhetta, New York
  • Sebastian Irarrazaval of Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitecto, Santiago, Chile
  • Susan Jones of atelierjones LLC and the University of Washington, Seattle
  • Mikkel Bøgh of Effekt, Copenhagen, Denmark

Over the course of three days, each architect or engineer will present their work in wood at public presentations advertised to the architectural community regionally, nationally and internationally. All sessions are open to the public. Individual presentations will be complemented by panel discussions each day, with specific interactions with design students in the Fay Jones School. Overall, the summit seeks to elevate the use of wood by both practitioners and students, and to promote an advanced understanding of wood and mass timber to the general public.

While any one of the invited architects would draw significant attention, the gathering of the leaders in wood design will be a first of its kind, drawing important and timely attention to the cause of mass timber, wood products and their potential in design. This symposium will demonstrate excellence and innovation in wood design, an urgent message with local, national and international relevance.

The University of Arkansas itself is rapidly becoming known as a center of design and research in mass timber and wood products. The symposium will include tours of the university’s Library Annex Building – the first mass timber construction in the state – and the recently completed Adohi Hall, the first large-scale mass timber residence hall project in the United States. Tours of the historic Fay and Gus Jones House and Thorncrown Chapel further afield are also arranged.

This event is hosted by Fay Jones School in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Sponsors include Walmart; Weyerhauser; the U of A Office of the Chancellor; Ray Dillon of Little Rock; Binderholz; Structurlam Mass Timber Corporation; and Miller Boskus Lack Architects.

View the complete symposium schedule and presenter details at timberdesignexcellence.org. Registration is free, but important, as space is limited. Please email info@timberdesignexcellence.org to register or for more information.

Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design: The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas houses professional design programs of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design together with liberal studies programs. All of these programs combine studio design education with innovative teaching in history, theory, technology and urban design. A broad range of course offerings equips graduates with the knowledge and critical agility required to meet the challenges of designing for a changing world. Their training prepares students with critical frameworks for design thinking that also equip them to assume leadership roles in the profession and in their communities. The school’s architecture program was ranked 26th in the nation, and the 12th best program among public, land-grant universities, in the 16th Annual Survey of America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools, a study conducted in 2015 by the Design Futures Council and published in DesignIntelligence.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs.

Contacts

Peter MacKeith, dean
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-2702, mackeith@uark.edu

Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, mparks17@uark.edu

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