Moses Structural Engineers presents the second annual #TimberFever Design-Build Challenge. We put architectural science and civil engineering students from Ryerson University to the test in building a life-size structure out of wood.
8 teams of ryerson’s finest
926 board feet of wood
36 hours of sweat and sawdust
“… having fun and also learning a lot about the practical aspects of construction … within our faculty we don’t get that much practical experience.”
“Now I know I can cut something by hand, that’s what I’m taking away from this.”
Life in a big city is full of activity, excitement and energy. Cities are our homes, the centre of our economies, our sources of entertainment and culture. Our cities shape us and we shape them. And within every city lies hidden potential for re-imagining spaces.
This year, students were tasked with designing and building an Urban Refuge – a private space where at least one person can sit or stand in to disconnect from the rush of urban life, and find peace for a few minutes.
“Our idea was to make it not look like a box, so we made an octagon, and just for the look of it we made it slope shaped. We don’t know if they’re going to hold out to the specific force they’re going to apply.”
As one of our favourite building materials, wood allows the students to demonstrate to us how adaptable it is for creating environments so compelling that even a 6-year-old child can't wait to get inside (see the Dogwood project below). Each team was provided with lumber, plywood, a wood base, screws, nails and metal brackets. And this year, two new elements: fabric and one StopGap.ca access ramp.
Judging was based on concept, design development, construction and the presentation of the completed Urban Refuge. The judges were looking for form, sculpture, drama, colour and beauty.
All projects were impressive and high calibre. They all survived the stress test and resisted gravity and lateral forces.
“Half our group stayed up all night to design it and then worked 9am-9pm, almost 12 hours, of almost non-stop work.”
1st Place Winner: Team Blue-Beech for "Nest"
2nd Place: Team Sugar Maple for "Hive"
3rd Place & Popular Choice Winner: Team Dogwood for "Tree-magination"
Maulik Vora, Finance Coordinator
Shanuja Nagarathinam, Photography and Media Coordinator
Mariam El-Zein, Volunteer Coordinator
Nicole LI, Facilities Coordinator
Brotee Das Datta, Registration
Luisa Gonzalez, Catering
Our mission is to create collaboration between students of architecture and engineering, while developing design, construction and communication skills that will be invaluable to your future careers.
We are passionate about designing and building with wood and want to share all the positive attributes of this wonderful material.
TimberFever was inspired by the Defi Cecobois competition held annually by Cecobois in Quebec. Nous vous remercions, Cecobois, de nous inspirer!
For students with questions, email:
For media inquiries, email:
Moses Structural Engineers is an award winning structural engineering firm providing custom design work using wood, steel, concrete, masonry and a variety of other materials. They are pioneers in new types of construction methods and designed the first five CLT buildings in Ontario.
In 2014 TD Place Stadium in Lansdowne Park received the “Institutional-Commercial Wood Design Award” from Ontario Wood WORKS! The Grotto Sauna received several awards including the 2014 “Ontario Wood Award” from Ontario Wood WORKS! It was also the “Popular Choice Winner” in the 2015 Architizer A+ Awards.
Through research, development and education, Moses Structural Engineers strives to elevate the quality of design and innovation in the field, and has become an industry leader by doing so. Moses Structural Engineers has partnerships with a few major Canadian universities and research institutions. Its latest collaboration is the TimberFever Design-Build Challenge with Ryerson University. The competition first took place in 2015, and due to an overwhelming response, we have turned this into an annual competition. Go Ryerson!