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Excellence in Architecture and Product Design:    
Wood Awards 2015 Winners Announced


The winners of the 44th annual Wood Awards, have been announced at a ceremony held on the 10th November at Carpenters’ Hall in London hosted  by broadcaster and architectural historian, Tom Dyckhoff. The Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s only naturally sustainable  material. The Wood Awards aims to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.


Arnold Laver Gold Award

The Arnold Laver Gold Award is the winner of winners. The Fishing Hut by Niall McLaughlin Architects, has been awarded this prestigious title (as well as winning the Private category).


Arnold Laver Gold Award & Private Winner 

The Fishing Hut

the wood awards 2016, fishing hut

Architect: Niall McLaughlin Architects

Wood Species: European Oak from France, Douglas Fir from Southern England

The Fishing Hut sits on a man-made lake originally built as a fish farm. The client wanted a secure place to store boats     and fishing tackle that could also function as a meeting place and shelter for anglers. When closed, the pitched roof and   handling of the cladding refers directly to the construction of modern agricultural buildings. Oak was chosen for the exposed timber structure and cladding due to its colour and grain. The untreated exterior timber will weather to match the silver-grey of the roof cladding and steel supports.    
The building is supported on eighteen pad foundations formed from precast concrete drainage rings placed on the lakebed and filled with concrete.  Nine galvanized steel goalpost frames are fixed to the pad foundations supporting the timber floor structure and glulam oak superstructure. The roof is made of softwood rafters, clad internally with oak boards and externally with profiled aluminium sheeting on larch battens. The building’s structure organises its plan into ten bays   of 1.8m. Below the eaves, shutters and cladding formed of open jointed timber planks enclose the six central bays. This enclosure comprises a weather tight internal space of four bays and a semi-enclosed storage area.   


Bespoke Furniture & Product Winners

The judges felt that the Bespoke category was so strong that two of the shortlisted projects should win a    
Bespoke Furniture & Product Wood Award.


Endgrain_Raw-Edges Design Studio

Designer: Raw-Edges Design Studio

Wood Species: Jelutong, Southern Yellow Pine, Cypress Veneer

Endgrain showcases the possibilities provided by dying wood instead of painting it. Staining the wood all the way though leaves it consistently saturated, removing or sanding the layer will make it look brand new again. An example of this process is illustrated in the historic space of Chatsworth House where Endgrain was fitted as a grid-like wooden floor creating coloured pathways through the gallery. The idea for the timber soaking came from xylem, the water-conducting tissue found in trees. Each species responded differently to the chemicals in the dye, experimentation helped the designers settle on two types of wood: Jelutong Timber and Southern Yellow Pine. The judges were excited to see colour used in wood, which is unusual, and by the huge response provoked in people who see the pieces. They admired the studio’s initiative in conceiving and developing the process.


Bespoke Furniture & Product Winners (continued)


Ves-el_Gareth Neal

Designer: Gareth Neal in collaboration with Zaha Hadid

Wood Species: American White Oak

Gareth Neal was invited to architect Zaha Hadid’s office to work with her design team, using the company’s modeling software to design Ves-el. From this came the idea of extruding the form along one of its axis with a slit opening at the end. Neal was interested in the idiosyncrasies of traditional hand processes such as a hand-thrown pot or a raised piece of silverware, and how simulating these could be achieved through digital imitation. The vessels were made in two parts on a CNC machine during a week-long stay at Benchmark. The judges felt this was a winner because of the combination of the process and the finished result which, they said, had an intensity of energy.


Student Designer Furniture & Product

New for 2015 was  the Student Designer Furniture & Product category introduced to recognise the value of student work in wood. Within this category were prizes of £1,000 for winner and £500 for people’s choice.

Student Designer Winner

End Grain Stationery

Endgrain stationery_Simin Qiu

Designer: Simin Qiu

Wood Species: Pine

The End Grain stationery accessories collection was inspired by the wooden floor in the Barbican theatre. The aim was to introduce this mix of nature and man-made beauty and apply it to functional, everyday products accessible to all. This collection uses the end grain patterns from off-cuts, which are carefully cut and glued together. The judges said this work was fresh, and that it felt like the start of a journey in designing and making.


Student Designer People’s Choice Award

Voting for the Student Designer People’s Choice Award took place over Twitter using the name of the Student Designer project and the hashtag #WAStudent15.

Slatted Chair

slatted chair_Emma Leslie

Designer: Emma Leslie

Wood Species: Maple, Cherry

Handmade from sustainable hardwoods using traditional techniques such as bridle and tenon joints, this chair was inspired by the architectural forms of Alvar Aalto and designed to focus on structure. The designer’s aim was to make a seat suspended inside a frame, similar to the inside/outside of a building. It has the feel of an armchair, but is light in its structure.


Commercial & Leisure Winner

Constellation Bar

the wood awards 2016_constellations

Architect: Howard Miller Design

Wood Species: Welsh Green Oak, TR26 Softwood Roofing Timber, OSB3 Boards, Norwegian spruce glulam beams

Constellations Bar is an outdoor venue that occupies a disused industrial recycling yard and consists of a bar, food truck,  art space and community garden. Brothers Hugh and Howard Miller, a furniture maker and a practicing architect, collaborated on this project to rekindle the Arts & Crafts ideal of gesantkunsterk, a total work of art’. The canopy and all    
other components were prefabricated in the workshop and erected onsite in three days. The structure is supported by a    set of ten green oak quadra-pods, double A-frame supports that carry the load of the canopy via glulam beams. The judges were impressed by the boldness of this imaginative project and the attention to detail.   


Education & Public Sector Winner

Arcadia Nursery   

the wood awards 2016_Arcadia Nursery

Architect: Malcolm Fraser Architects

Wood Species: Austrian Spruce, Siberian Larch, Scottish Larch

Built for the University of Edinburgh, Arcadia Nursery was conceived as a floating, lightweight structure that could be built  within a restricted site. The CLT structure creates a warm, tactile interior whilst achieving clear roof volumes that ensure   the mezzanine spaces are not compromised. Timber acoustic ceilings soften the sound and aesthetic of each playroom.   Timber cladding and wood fibre insulation envelops the building. Timber decks, walkways, feature fences and play features are used throughout. The nursery has been designed to be a very low energy building. The judges were impressed by intelligent use of space, which creates natural breaks within larger groups and also allows groups to collaborate. They admired the feeling of calm and contentment  – remarkable in a building for the under fives.    


Existing Building Winner

The Studio

the wood awards 2015 The Studio

Architect & Builder: Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects

Wood Species: Siberian Birch Plywood, American Red Oak

Inspired by time spent in a VW campervan The Studio was self-built by the architects. The design has been likened to a tree house, the staircase like a hollowed out tree trunk and the mezzanine sitting atop like a Scandinavian wood cabin. Plywood is used throughout as a finishing and structural material. The relationship of the new construction with the existing building is enhanced by the contrast of the timber with the neutral white plasterboard walls. The judges were impressed by the way that this imaginative approach created a family home out of what would previously have seemed an unliveable small area, and that, despite having no external space, the building never feels claustrophobic.


Interiors Winner

Bryanston School  

the wood awards 2015_byanston school

Architect: Hopkins Architects

Wood Species: Douglas Fir, American White Oak, Spruce

The new Tom Wheare Music School, part of Bryanston School in Dorset has been constructed of brick and wood to establish a visual dialogue with nearby buildings. A timber-treaded stair links the building’s three levels. The lower ground floor houses various music rooms that open directly onto the courtyard which feature spruce glulam timber posts and ceiling beams infilled with timber panels. American white oak flooring, wall and ceiling panels join with specially designed oak acoustic panels (backed with sound-absorptive material) that can be individually adjusted to improve acoustic performance in the space. The judges praised the use of a single timber for most of the auditorium finishes and the care that had been taken with detailing. They were particularly impressed by the simple and effective design of the moveable acoustic panels which can be adjusted manually.


Small Project Winner

The Observatory: The Study & The Workshop

the wood awards 2015-the observatory

Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Wood Species: Siberian Larch, Native Home Grown Larch, Canadian Western Red Cedar,

Native Home Grown Chestnut, European Oak, Coillte Smartply, Structural Softwood, Tricoya, Accoya

The brief was to create a mobile and sculptural building to house 12 multidisciplinary artists over a two-year residency that the public can directly engage with in remote landscapes and coastal locations in the UK. The Observatory comprises prefabricated cabins, an artist’s studio (The Study) and a public shelter (The Workshop), that can be transported together on an 8x2m lorry truck. Externally, both cabins are clad in charred larch with a ‘test bed’ wall clad in a variety of charred timbers. The condition of the charred timber will be monitored as a field that is still largely unexplored in architecture. As a contrast to the dark and textured exterior, the interior is made of light Accoya and Tricoya, virtually rot proof and highly durable. The judges were impressed by the imaginative response to the brief, by the project’s interaction with the landscape, and by the provision of much-needed research into the durability of charred timber.


Structural Award

The Structural Award was chosen from all 20 of the shortlisted buildings.

Canary Wharf Crossrail

the wood awards 2015_canary wharf_main

Architect: Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners were commissioned to design a mixed-use scheme encompassing the over-ground element of the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station. The design is characterised by a landscaped, sheltered park on the roof, accessible from ground level by connecting bridges. Wrapping over the lower concrete superstructure, this 300 metre-long timber lattice opens in the centre to draw in light and rain from natural irrigation. Four levels of shops, cafes and amenities sit above the underground station, the arcade making use of natural light to minimise energy consumption and welcome people into the building. When open at night, the park will be lit, illuminating the timber lattice from below and creating a welcoming glow through its ETFE outer skin. The judges admired the intelligent response to the varying levels of exposure as well as
the way in which the structure was resolved.


Judges’ Special Award

This year the judges decided to award a Judges’ Special Award to a project that they felt deserves    
recognition for its speed and size.

BSkyB Believe in Better Building

bskyb building

Architect: Arup Associates

Wood Species: Austrian Spruce, Birch from Sweden and Finland, British Oak

BSkyB’s new educational facility for graduates, apprentices and staff training, was designed to reflect the company’s sustainable aspirations. The 3,000m2 development is a four-storey, open-plan commercial structure. It is one of very few multi-storey timber offices in the world. The building was designed and constructed in less than one year. Solid timber and timber cassettes were the optimum rapid and sustainable solution. This eliminated the requirement for wet trade onsite and the off-site timber cassettes meant that building could be wrapped considerably faster. The timber cassettes delivered the low thermal resistance and high airtightness that the structure required. The system took the form of a glulam frame with visible grade CLT panels providing core stability to the walls and floors, much of which is left exposed.



This year, The Wood Awards’ buildings judges shortlisted 20 projects across the country. Co-chaired by Giles Downes and Michael Morrison, the panel consisted of Andrew Lawrence, John Wilkie, Jim Greaves, Hugh Pearman, Nathan Wheatley, Ruth Slavid and past Arnold Laver Gold Award winners Adam Richards and David Morley. The furniture and product judges shortlisted 10 pieces. The specialist panel was led by Max Fraser and included Katie Walker, Corinne Julius, John Makepeace and Rod Wales. The Awards’ elite independent judging panel of professional experts and specialists not only judged the submitted entries but visited the shortlisted projects in person, making the Wood Awards as meaningful and rigorous a competition as possible. The buildings visits took place over the summer whilst all of the
shortlisted furniture and product designs were judged at 100% Design in September. As a not-for-profit competition, the Wood Awards can only happen with collaborative industry sponsorship. Arnold Laver sponsor the Arnold Laver Gold Award. Major Sponsors are American Hardwood Export Council, Carpenters’ Company, Wood for Good and TRADA. Other sponsors include American Softwoods, British Woodworking Federation, Confederation of Timber Industries, Forestry Commission and 100% Design.