Wood WORKS! BC awards presented to the best of 2011 wood designs

More than 350 distinguished design and building professionals, including architects, engineers, project teams and industry sponsors and guests gathered this evening to honour the nominees and winners of the 2011 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards. The 7th annual awards evening in Vancouver recognized leadership and innovation in wood use while being an opportunity to publicly salute and encourage continued excellence in the building and design community.

Wood WORKS! is a national industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council, with a goal to support innovation and provide leadership on the use of wood and wood products. Wood WORKS! BC provides education, training and technical expertise to building and design professionals involved with non-residential construction projects throughout BC.

There were 82 nominations in 12 categories for the 2011 awards from all over the province, as well as some national and international submissions, including one by a BC architect for a project in Washington, DC and another for a prairie retreat in Saskatchewan. "2011 marks a coming of age for the wood culture in BC," explained Wood WORKS! BC executive director Mary Tracey. "More than ever before builders and designers are embracing wood for its beauty, sustainability, strength, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. We are truly in awe of the innovative and unique ways that wood has been used both architecturally and structurally."

The nominated projects ranged from the restoration of an historic salt refining and processing facility on the Lower Mainland to a "marvellous and amazing" domed carousel at a children's pavilion on Vancouver Island; from a "strong urban design" of a multi-unit residential complex in Kelowna to an extraordinary innovation of corrugated plywood by a Vancouver industrial designer. There were new buildings and restorations, using new timber, engineered wood products, mountain pine beetle kill, and salvaged logs.

The panel of five judges for the Wood WORKS! BC 2011 Wood Design Awards included Barbara Bell, Principal, Formativ Design in Vancouver; David Edmunds, Senior Partner, GEC Architecture in Calgary; Brian Hawrysh, CEO, BC Wood Specialties Group; Frank Lam, Senior Chair, Department of Wood Science in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC and AnnaLisa Meyboom, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC.

The BC Premier's Wood Champion Award was presented to Vancouver-based and internationally renowned architect Bing Thom of Bing Thom Architects. He was chosen for his work with wood on many projects around the world. His juried projects used wood as a defining feature which he considers fundamental to his architectural concept. Mr. Thom has stated, "Wood provides both a beautiful structure and finish and there is also an increasing recognition that wood is the best environmental choice. We want our designs to take advantage of wood's capabilities and show its strengths and innovations. We are showing how timber can be used for structures in ways that may not have been considered before. The beauty is that wood works well with other materials and we integrate wood with steel roof trusses and cables, with aluminum connection plates, with ductile iron castings and glass curtain wall."

Mr. Thom was also the recipient of the prestigious 2011 Architect Award. Considered to be both visionary and inspiring, Bing Thom has been awarded many times during his impressive career. He was honoured this evening for his commercial, residential and institutional projects, all of which provide vibrant and sustainable solutions. His showcase project, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington DC, was deemed to demonstrate a masterful use of wood and the jury appreciated the architect's ability to push the envelope on the design.

The Wood Innovation Award recognizes creative and innovative approaches in the use of wood in building design, product design and/or processes. The winner of this category was Christian Blyt of Greenhus Designs for his product Corelam. This product was in 15 years of development, and is now on the market; the jury called it a significant innovation in manufactured wood which will be welcomed by designers.

The Green Building Award went to Russell Acton of Acton Ostry Architects for the Salt Building in Vancouver. This unique project involved the restoration and rehabilitation of a landmark 1930's building in Vancouver. The jury noted this project presents a clear message about the longevity and adaptability of wood as a sustainable building material. Diversion of more than 98 percent of construction waste from landfills was achieved, and 10 percent of all the new materials were regionally sourced.

Gerry Epp of Fast + Epp Structural Engineers, known and respected internationally and whose name is synonymous with innovative engineering solutions, was the recipient of the Engineer Award. The jury's decision was based on an innovative and unique footbridge in Princeton, BC – the "Bridge of Dreams". It was described by the jury as unique and innovative, with amazing detailing.

Winners in the wood design categories include:

  • Residential Wood Design: Guscott/Kemp Residence, Ladner – Scott M. Kemp, Scott M. Kemp Architect
  • Multi-Unit Residential Wood Design: Willowbridge, Kelowna – Philip MacDonald, Philip MacDonald Architect. Inc.
  • Western Red Cedar: Canada Pavilion at Expo 2010, Shanghai, China – Government of Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage
  • Interior Beauty Design: The Atrium, Victoria – Franc D'Ambrosio, D'Ambrosio architecture + urbanism
  • Institutional Wood Design - Small: Tla'Amin Community Health + Multi-Purpose Centre, Powell River – Craig Duffield, McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd.
  • Institutional Wood Design - Large: Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest Park, Vancouver – Darryl Condon, Hughes Condon Marler Architects
  • Commercial Wood Design: Carousel Pavilion, Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay, BC – Darryl Condon, Hughes Condon Marler Architects

"Wood WORKS! BC is proud to recognize and honour outstanding professionals in the design and building communities who continue to explore the potential of wood, reaffirming its many attributes, and showing us what is possible through their remarkable accomplishments," concluded Ms. Tracey.

For more information about the winning entries and professional photos of the projects, please contact:

Mary Tracey, Executive Director, Wood WORKS! BC
mtracey@wood-works.ca or 1 877 929 9663 ext 1/ cell: 250 864 1344

Read the rest of the article at Wood WORKS! BC

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