2020 EDR Research Fellowship | Wood: Past and Future

The EDR Research Fellowship program allows talented individuals—typically recent graduates of design professional educational programs—to explore fundamental questions around the development of better buildings and cities while embedded in a firm committed to excellence in design and performance. Each year, EDR Research Fellows are challenged to focus on a particular area of inquiry, unconstrained by day-to-day project deliverables, but with the opportunity to interact with and affect the course of ongoing work. They are also required to share what they have learned with the firm and with the profession nationally through publications and conference presentations. Previous years have focused on topics of building performance, resilience, community engagement, and paths to carbon neutrality in building construction & operation. An overview of recent work is available at https://www.eskewdumezripple.com/innovation/#research-fellowship

2020-2021 Theme | Wood: Past and Future

Wood is the only commonly used building material made by the Sun. Since trees use sunshine to draw carbon dioxide from the air—converting it into sugar and structure—the act of building with wood can be an act of carbon sequestration, and support architecture’s response to the climate crisis. Beyond advantages in reducing and sequestering carbon, wood is aesthetically pleasing. There are few things more beautiful in architecture than large swathes of wood left unadorned—“nature’s fingerprint."

However, not all wood is created equal: harvesting wood from poorly managed forests can result in huge net emissions from mis-handled waste and soil loss.

This Fellowship will be a deep dive on what makes for “good wood” vs “bad wood,” how architects can use wood in new ways (including mass timber assemblies such as CLT, NLT, and DLT), practical responses to the common challenges faced by wood (termites! water! fire! differential expansion!), and a look ahead to next generation biologically-based low-carbon alternatives to conventional concrete and insulation.

  • The deadline to receive candidates was March 9, 2020