The Canadian Wood Council has been having their annual Wood Design & Building Awards program for the past 39 years. The awards are held to recognize and celebrate the visionary design and structure of wood architecture from across the world. The program welcomes designers from various industries including architecture, engineering, and interior design. The winners are selected for their ability to push boundaries and challenge themselves through design and the way they utilize and think about wood.
The award entries showcase the use of wood products in various forms and applications. Ultimately, each application must highlight a concept and appreciation of wood strength, durability, visual appeal, and affordability. A judging panel of prominent architects, engineers, and interior designers from across North America review each entry and rank them based on creativity, appropriate use of the wood species and materials, and innovative design. The jurors for the 39th annual awards included Brian Court, partner at The Miller Hull Partnership, Susan Fitzgerald, design principal at FBM, and Stephan Langevin, principal at STGM.
This year, the awards program received 181 nominations from 25 countries. From those applications, 24 winning projects were selected and celebrated. “We are privileged to honour wood design leaders through the awards program,” said Martin Richard, VP of Communications and Marketing at the Canadian Wood Council. “The quality, quantity, and diversity of the project nominations we received this year is inspiring. It also signals a growing architectural interest in renewable biomaterials and the expanded use of wood as a versatile, sustainable, high-performance construction element that offers better outcomes for people and the planet.”
Canadian Winners of the Wood Design & Building Awards
Three Canadian applicants were awarded in the Honor category of their projects, each from Ontario. The winners include the following
1. Churchill Meadows Community Centre and Mattamy Sporks Spark
(Mississauga, Ontario MJMA Architecture & Design)
The Churchill Meadows Community Centre and Mattamy Sports Park include a 25-metre, six-lane pool, triple gymnasium, living studio, skate park, trails, and multi-purpose court. Brian Court, of the Miller Hull Partnership, said of the project “What I really liked about the Churchill Meadows Community Centre was the architect focusing on the bounding elements of the project. A lot of big volumes outside and a focus on the wraparound porch and putting a lot of detail, thought and resolution into that one element which really helped calm the project down and let the wood excel at the perimeter. Using the wood to support the solar screen that mitigates glare and heat gain at the interior of the building, pull that off to the perimeter and then really celebrate that structural expression and let that be the defining moment in the experience of the building was very successful.”
2. Neil Campbell Rowing Centre
(St. Catharines, Ontario, MJMA + RAAI)
The Neil Campbell Rowing Centre includes fitness studios, a rowing tank, office spaces, meeting rooms, and administrative and support spaces. “It’s a very clean project and the wood structure of the roof is very ingenious. It has two slabs of CLT with a composite structure in the middle. It’s poetic because the glass is showing the horizontality of the lake. It’s a very nice and marvelous structure,” said Stephan Langevin of STGM.
3. Lake Muskoka Boathouse
(Port Carling, Ontario, Turkel Design)
The Lake Muskoka Boathouse in Port Carling, Ontario features an open floor plan, expansive windows on both sides of the cottage, and two 24-foot-wide retractable walls of glass. “The Lake Muskoka Boathouse is this incredible building, it’s actually a very utilitarian building because it’s a boat shed, but the whole thing is fabricated from Douglas fir and so it is this incredibly rich and well-crafted building. Even the way the bevel on the boards is used to shed water on the exterior of it, so the crafting of this project is really exquisite. It also takes the very low profile of the lake, so it’s not imposing in any way and it glows at night when the boaters return and the wood and the interior of this glow can almost act as a way-finding device,” explained Susan Fitzgerald of FBM.
The Wood Design & Building Awards are presented by the Canadian Wood Council and you can view the other nominated design projects at their website.