The winners of the Wood Awards 2019 were announced at a ceremony held on the 19th November at Carpenters’ Hall in London hosted by Priya Khanchandani, editor of Icon magazine. Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is free to enter and aims to recognise and encourage outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.
The judges selected Cork House by architect Matthew Barnett Howland, Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton as this year’s Gold Award and Private category winner. Judge Ruth Slavid commented, “This is a really exciting project. Not just a house, it is also a piece of research.” Cork House is built almost entirely from cork and timber. Monolithic walls and corbelled roof pyramids are built with loadbearing expanded cork made from the bark of the cork oak tree, a by-product from wine stoppers. The house is a prefabricated kit of parts. 1,268 blocks of expanded cork were CNC-machined off-site.
The Commercial & Leisure winner is Royal Opera House ‘Open Up’ by Stanton Williams. Striking the right balance between heritage and 21st century life, the transformation of the Royal Opera House reimagines the world-renowned home of ballet and opera. Improved access and transparency, a completely new Linbury Theatre and new foyers, terraces, cafes, bars, restaurant and retail facilities extend the building’s life outside of performance hours.
Cambridge Central Mosque by Marks Barfield Architects was selected as the Education & Public Sector winner. Judge David Morley says, “This building is an exemplar of how wood can enable a structure to become the primary representational element of a building.” The mosque is a calm oasis of contemplation inspired by an image of the garden of paradise. Repeating star octagons are converted into a continuous structural pattern. Alternate octagons are converted to the structural columns or ‘trunks’. The 30 trees create an overall impression of stillness, quiet and focus.
The Interiors winner is Battersea Arts Centre by Haworth Tompkins. In March 2015, a fire broke out in the northern half of the 1890’s grade II* listed building destroying the roof to the largest performance space. The original decorative plaster barrel vaulted ceiling was completely lost. Rather than replicating the lost ceiling, a contemporary plywood lattice ceiling was conceived. The new ceiling follows the curvature of the original and echoes the motifs in the plasterwork.
MultiPly by Waugh Thistleton Architects, the 2019 Small Project winner, is the is the first structure made from UK manufactured CLT. The vertical maze of stacked modules and staircases creates labyrinthine spaces which intertwine. MultiPly demonstrates how engineered timber structures can be reconfigured, reused, repurposed and ultimately recycled. Like a piece of flat-packed furniture, it arrives as a kit of parts and can be quietly assembled in under a week.
This year’s Structural Award winner is House in a Garden. Judge Nathan Wheatley said, “this is an exceptional structural form of elegant and slender timber ribs, a structural arrangement which is exciting, efficient and responds perfectly to the study of natural light.” The house is on ground and two basement floors surrounded by gardens, light wells and skylights. The roof curves into an oculus. Shaped and informed by light and shadow, the roof’s tent like form creates a new place for life to occur. Wood-lined ‘internal’ spaces (living rooms and bedrooms) are juxtaposed with marble-lined ‘external’ spaces (wet areas, pools and courtyards).
The Furniture & Product judges selected two winners within the Bespoke category. Alison Crowther’s The Kissing Benches were awarded for their simplicity and honesty to the material. The benches were made for the newly Figaro Garden at Glyndebourne. Gigantic beam sections of green English oak have been hand-carved to create a contemporary take on an old style of outdoor seating. David Gates’s Littoral Chances 1&2 received a Bespoke award for its singular vision and how it highlights just how much a material can be adapted to an individual’s style. This unmatched pair of collecting cabinets is based on the beauty of chance composition. Gates is drawn to industrial and agricultural architecture, including jetties and pylons, and the paraphernalia that populates these sites.
Ian McChesney Bench produced by Benchmark is the Production winner. Judge Sebastian Cox comments, “Seeing something in the production category that is so sculptural is lovely.” These highly crafted benches are made in two sizes. The gently pillowed top and bottom give the benches a very natural feel. They are carved initially on a 5 axis CNC machine and then assembled and finished by hand to create the elegant edge profile.
Within the Student Designer category there were two cash prizes; £1,000 for Winner and £500 for People’s Choice. The overall winner is Bio Iridescent Sequin by Elissa Brunato, which the judges praised as a refreshing alternative to finishes and colour within the fashion industry. Brunato’s sequin uses bio-technologies to create colourful shimmering sequins from naturally abundant wood. The People’s Choice Award was given to Udon Stool by Anton Mikkonen from The Sir John Cass School of Art. The stool consists of five parts, all CNC routed with a 2D CNC machine.
The Wood Awards 2020 call for entries will launch in March and run until 22 May.