To the Moon! It’s NELMA’s 7th Annual Student Design Competition

With the plethora of design competition options now available to students of architectural schools every year, it quickly becomes a challenge of how to set yourself apart?  Leave it to NELMA to come up with an idea that is truly “out there”, with this year’s Student Competition titled “Moon Shot:  A Lumber Lunar Colony!”.

Announced in February, more than 75 Architecture and Design Colleges and Schools received the competition poster and information.

With the resurgence of news about space, Mars, and the Moon, not to mention recent rocket tests and shooting a Tesla car into space, this competition idea should stir the imagination of students in an environment where wood is not typically top-of-mind!

Here’s the set-up:  It’s the year 2035 and NASA is implementing the final phase of human habitation of the moon program.  Wood, as the most sustainable and renewable construction material on the planet, has been chosen as the primary element for use in habitation construction within existing environmental domes.

The Assignment:  Explore the uses of wood as the primary building material for the colony, specifically to design living/working spaces that leverage the attributes of Spruce-Pine-Fir for the structural elements and Eastern White Pine for finishing applications.

Design Prompts:

  • How can you use wood to make earth’s migrants feel more at home?
  • What will lunar living look like and include? Dormitories? Open Spaces? Green Spaces?
  • Will there be shared structures?
  • How can space be maximized for efficiency?

This is NELMA’s 7th year of offering an architecture and design student challenge; a no-fee competition that engages students in a dialogue about sustainability and to think of using wood products as a contemporary construction and design material.  Design entries are due by August 25 and Awards will be provided to the First Place ($1,500) and Second Place ($750) winners.   Look for an announcement of the winning designs in September at the NELMA Annual Meeting.


2017 Sustainable Versatility Design Awards Announced

Grow your own building headerThe 6th Annual Competition for Architecture Students, sponsored by NELMA, took the design challenge to a whole new level this year with its robust set of guidelines.  The setting was the design of a new home for the student’s School of Architecture that had to feature Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) for the structural system, SPFs-graded lumber for framing, and Eastern White Pine for appearance applications of the building.  A total of 40 students registered for the challenge representing 20 universities across the country.

The final judging involved 16 design entries.Jeff-Omkar-DanThe First Place Rich Quitadamo Sustainable Versatility Design Award winner was announced in a ceremony held during NELMA’s Annual Meeting on September 21 in Newport, Rhode Island.  Omkar Prabhu, a 5th-year student from Mississippi State University took the top prize with his design titled, “Exporing Avenues in Timber – A Mass Timber Building for Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Design.”  Check out Omkar’s virtual tour video of his design that showcases his project.

Second Place was awarded to Curtis Reed, also a student entry from Mississippi State University for his design, titled, “Mississippi State University ExO (Experience x Opportunity).  Professor Jacob Gines, a significant supporter of wood’s use as a contemporary building construction material at the University, provided guidance to each student throughout the project.

NELMA’s Marketing Chairman, Dan Paige, reviewed all submissions as one of four judges, noting, “This was one of the most intriguing activities I have been involved with as Chairman.  The variety, scope, and creativity shown by the student entries was very insightful as to the thinking of today’s student architect. Every entrant showed clearly in their design and their narrative that our Eastern and Great Lakes Softwoods are a sound and sometimes better alternative to traditional building materials.”

View the image details of the First and Second Place designs in our Awards Program

2017 Sustainable Versatility Design Competition Underway

NELMA’s design competition for student architects and interns for 2017 is well underway with informational “Grow Your Own Building” posters mailed in January to 76 colleges and universities that have accredited architectural and design curriculum.  This is the 6th year that NELMA has offered this unique architecture and design student challenge; a no-fee competition that engages students in a design dialogue about sustainability and design using wood products as a contemporary construction material. Grow your own building header

The 2017 competition narrative directs students to incorporate both Eastern White Pine and Spruce-Pine-Fir south products into their designs, in addition to the incorporation of Cross Laminated Timbers (CLTs).  The challenge specifics: “Imagine, research, and design a building that will be the new home for your school’s School of Architecture and Design using the following materials: (1) Cross-Laminated Timbers (CLTs) for structural systems, (2) Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF-s) graded lumber for framing, and (3) Eastern White Pine lumber grades for appearance finish.”

A final design submission date is set for August 1 with winners announced at the 2017 NELMA Annual Meeting in September.  First Place receives a $1,500 award and a unique wood trophy, with Second Place receiving a $750 award.

“This competition is our way to keep wood relevant, contemporary, and top-of-mind with today’s architecture and design students,” stated Jeff Easterling, NELMA President.  “The use of wood products in construction is positively trending and we want to reiterate with students its important sustainable qualities and incredible versatility through this program.”

To learn more about the program, go to NELMA’s competition website,, which includes past winner’s projects.

The 2016 Sustainable Versatility Student Architect Design Awards Announced

2016 marks the 5th annual presentation of the Rich Quitadamo Sustainable Versatility Award, given to the winning designs reimagine logosubmitted in NELMA’s student architect competition.  This year’s unique challenge to students:

“Choose an iconic building in your community and re-imagine how that structure would showcase Eastern White Pine. A museum? A dining hall? A federal building? A football stadium? Get creative and show us how Eastern White Pine could be used to make your great space even greater (and greener).”

The announcement and Competition Poster for this year’s award was sent to 81 accredited architecture and design schools in the U.S. and Eastern Canada.  “We strive for as much widespread participation as possible for the Competition”, stated Jeff Easterling, NELMA President. “This millennial generation is extremely mobile-minded and may very well work or have projects during their career within the Eastern White Pine market area no matter where they went to school or end up professionally.”

First Place Award:

Jaechang Ko of Texas A & M

Design:  re>Imaging Kimbell Art Museum

Excerpt from Submission:

“The Kimbell Art Museum designed by architect Louis Kahn is one of the most celebrated master-pieces of modern architecture, despite nearly 50 years since its construction; it still holds its pro-found presence and monumental statement.  By re-imaging Kimbell Art Museum in Eastern White Pine, we emphasized its unique grain and rich, warm, golden color, which are signature elements of Eastern White Pine. The Kimbell as a modern marvel masterpiece is now a showcase of the sustainability features of wood construction.”

After re>Imagining
After re>Imagining


Second Place Award:

Joo-Hyun Park

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Design:  re>Imaging Four Wooden Box, Entrances to the Sinclair Library to the School of Architecture

Excerpt from Submission:

“In my project, Eastern white pine (entrance) boxes are a sensory mediator where people’s dynamic circulation flows like a stream and soak into various natural elements: The stream flew along the 75’x60’ rectangular shaped courtyard that enlivened my tactile senses. By using different finish grades on the each four directions, we can easily understand the natural materiality and the sustainability. Moreover, Eastern white pine box would be easily demountable for the future uses. Therefore, we can recycle the Eastern white pine box in the future. This is the sustainable features.”

Building Side After
After re>Imagining

NELMA would like to congratulate both award winners for their outstanding, thoughtful, and intriguing project submissions.  Clearly, both students gained a broad knowledge of using wood in design and the properties and grades of Eastern White Pine!

More about Rich Quitadamo:

Rich was a leading voice at NELMA to develop this outreach activity and a veteran member of the Marketing Committee that was instrumental in establishing this annual student architect competition to design a project out of Eastern White Pine. Rich made the original motion at the Committee’s October 22, 2010 meeting that led to its beginning. His input helped shape the Association’s marketing plan for more than 12 years, before his untimely passing in 2013.

To honor his unselfish work and participation in NELMA to the benefit of all its members, we are pleased to name this annual student competition award, The Rich Quitadamo Sustainable Versatility Award, presented to each year’s First Place winner.

The 2016 Sustainable Versatility Design Competition Announced

The 2016 Sustainable Versatility Design Competition was recently announced to over 80 accredited U.S. architecture and design schools.  In addition to emailing information regarding the upcoming competition to over2016 Poster 200 contacts, colorful posters were mailed to department heads for display within each school that provides all the details necessary for students to register and upload their designs.

2016 marks NELMA’s 5th year of offering this unique architecture and design student challenge; a no-fee competition that engages students in a design dialogue about sustainability, design culture and tradition through the use of wood products as a contemporary construction and design material, focusing on Eastern White Pine. Each year’s program offers a contemporary design challenge.

The 2016 Design Challenge:

“Choose an iconic building in your community or school and “re-imagine” how that structure would showcase Eastern White Pine. A museum? A dining hall? A drab federal building perhaps? Even a football stadium! Get creative and show us how Eastern White Pine products could be used to make a great space even greater (and greener)!”


• First Place: $1,000, unique wood trophy, write-up in the White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, and mention in competition press releases to the industry and trades.

• Second Place: $500, write-up in the White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, and mention in competition press releases to the industry and trades.

The deadline for students to register their intent to participate is February 15, 2016, with final submissions due March 15, 2016, all via the competition’s online portal, This website also provides information regarding past winner’s projects in addition to valuable resources regarding wood products manufactured from Eastern White Pine.

The Rich Quitadamo Sustainable Versatility Design Award will be announced and presented via Skpye to the winning student entry at the 2016 NELMA Annual Convention.

2015 Sustainable Versatility Design Competition Announced

Details of NELMA’s 4th Annual Design Competition exclusively for architect and design students is set to go out this month to 75 of the top architecture schools around the country. This year’s challenge calls for a design of a contemporary, single-family home that significantly features Eastern White Pine, incorporating at least 3 different grades.

Students are encouraged toSVAposter2015-web incorporate “Build-ability” while integrating other sustainable features within the project. A demonstrated knowledge of Eastern White Pine, including a cost estimate for all wood products used in the design is part of the entry requirements.

“Students have certainly been creative with the use of wood within their projects over the past 3 years of the competition”, according to Matt Duprey, NELMA’s Marketing Committee Chairman and competition judge. “The Committee firmly believes this unique NELMA marketing activity will benefit the industry as these students enter their professional lives having been exposed to the use of wood products.”

The “Call For Submissions” 11”x16” poster-mailer includes all the necessary information for student participation, with a February 1, 2015 deadline for registration and March 1 submission date. The first-place design will receive a $1,000 award, with second place set to receive $500 for their efforts. In addition, details of the winning recipients’ designs will be displayed during NELMA’s Annual Convention in April.