Forest To Building: Natural Resources Building Kickoff Workshop

Architects Shawna and Christopher Meyer from Atelier Mey present at a workshop at the University of Florida.

The first of several workshops focusing on plans for a comprehensive natural resources building on the main campus of the University of Florida took place on September 15. This kickoff event was hosted by Christopher and Shawna Meyer of Atelier Mey and funded by the U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovation Grant Program.

The workshop brought together members of UF/IFAS leadership and the various departments that the new natural resources building would serve, including the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences (SFFGS), Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (WEC), the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), Florida Sea Grant and the UF Water Institute. 

“It was exciting to think about the future spaces and anticipate a natural shift in learning, teaching, and research needs,” UF/IFAS Associate Vice President for Operations Jeanna Mastrodicasa said. “A new natural resources building would finally bring its faculty, staff, and students together to collaborate in a central location near the Reitz Union. UF/IFAS currently has multiple locations all over the main UF campus for faculty and staff within the same department.”


Project Kickoff Workshop

During the workshop, Atelier Mey facilitated a discussion on how space can have a constructive influence on a learning environment. Participants were encouraged to envision how personal and organizational values could be represented in a new building and how this new space could promote collaboration across a multi-disciplinary landscape of distance/in-person teaching, research and extension programs.

The natural resources building would serve as an upgraded extension to existing education tools, but would also function as a living laboratory on mass timber and the wood product markets for students, stakeholders and others in the UF community.

Attendees also worked to envision the physical characteristics of the new space. The project has aspirations of showcasing a mass-timber structure, serving to unify decades of innovation in forest management, teaching and outreach rooted in environmentally healthy building practices.

This grant proposes to catalyze the existing educational platform, industry relationships and community networks through expanded outreach programs on Forest to Building education-specifically regionally grown southern yellow pine mass timber building products.

This project proposes to increase the demand for mass-timber products in the state of Florida and to expand public knowledge of mass-timber building techniques. This project will promote economic market expansion of southern yellow pine in the southeastern United States and improve regional environmental health and education through a mass-timber structure on the University of Florida’s campus.

“This grant will help educate all of us about mass timber construction, including the local building community in north central Florida as well as at UF,” Mastrodicasa said. “It gives us the chance to explore using local building materials and support the forestry industry in expanding uses of its renewable products.”

Augmenting the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences nationally leading practices of putting the theories and principles of natural resources management, the University of Florida Forest to Building proposal catalyzes our mission with the physical implementation of forest management through a mass timber structure built with southern yellow pine.

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. | @UF_IFAS

IFAS is an equal opportunity institution. 

The work upon which this project is based was funded in whole or in part through a grant awarded by USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call toll free voice (866) 632-9992, TDD (800) 877-8339, or voice relay (866) 377-8642.USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.


Posted: November 23, 2022

Category: Forests, Natural Resources
Tags: Forest To Building, Forestry, Mass Timber, Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovation Grant, Wood Innovations

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