Here’s something you wouldn’t expect to be innovative – or safe. But of course it is both of those things. A new 10-story residential condo, slated for

Photo via Fast Company

Photo via Fast Company

Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, and a 12-story retail, office, and apartment building in Portland, Oregon, will be the first two tall wood buildings in America. Wood generally has a lower carbon footprint than other common building materials used in construction.

Says Fast Company’s Jessica Leiber:

Wood is an old building material that has been getting a new life in taller buildings over the last five years. Around the world, 17 wood buildings have been built that are between seven and 15 stories tall—many of them in Europe. A record-high 35-story wood building is in the planning stages in Paris. But the U.S. has been slow to start exploring the recent advancements in wood materials that have made these taller buildings possible. None exist here today.

Last year, in partnership with the lumber industry, the Department of Agriculture announced a $3 million prize intended to spur tall wood building designs in the U.S.. Today, it announced two winners that will split the money: The 10-story residential condo, slated for Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, and a 12-story retail, office, and apartment building in Portland, Oregon.

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