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TimberFever competition explores design possibilities of wood


October 10, 2017
by Canadian Architect

In partnership with Moses Structural Engineers, Ryerson University recently hosted TimberFever – an intense design and construction competition. Taking inspiration from a reality television cmompetition model, students had just 36 hours to build a wooden structure — based on an assigned design challenge — from the time they received their mission until completion.

TimberFever, Team Cherry Birch

1st Place Winner, Team Cherry Birch

TimberFever, which has doubled in size from previous years — now featuring teams from across Ontario — included students from University of Toronto, Carleton, Laurentian, Queen’s, Waterloo and Ryerson. Every team featured both Architectural Science and Civil Engineering students and was mentored by practising architects, engineers and representatives from the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario. This year’s four-day competition featured 16 teams and 1,852 board feet of wood. Students were tasked with building a “Reading Room,” and over the course of the multi-day competition, demonstrated teamwork, communication, time-management, and woodworking skills.

TimberFever, Team Ginko

Team Ginko, image via TimberFever

Last week, the winners of this year’s competition were announced. Winning teams were chosen by an illustrious panel of judges and mentors from the design and construction industries, while the People’s Choice Award was selected by the public, with well over 1,000 online votes cast. In first place, Team Cherry Birch took home the top award, while the second place winner, Team Ginko, was also selected as the People’s Choice Award Winner for their unique “Woven Haven” project, while Team Sumac claimed third place for a project titled “Unravel.”

Team Sumac, image via TimberFever

Team Sumac, image via TimberFever

TimberFever was inspired by the Defi Cecobois competition held annually by Cecobois in Quebec. Now in its third year, TimberFever brings architecture and civil engineering students from universities across Ontario together to build life-size structures out of wood, highlighting the natural material’s diverse potential applications as a construction material. The competition’s mission is also to create collaboration between students of architecture and engineering, while developing design, construction and communication skills that will be valuable to their future careers.