2016 Wood Design Award Winners Announced

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

Everyone appreciates the warmth and natural beauty that wood finishes add to architecture and interiors, but very few think about the wood that works behind the scenes in built environments. That’s where the Wood Design Award comes in: this annual program recognizes innovative use of the material as both a finish and structural material in nonresidential and multistory projects.


Chicago Horizon; photo by Tom Harris of Hedrich Blessing

“Ranging from mass timber to traditional wood-frame, this year’s winning projects exemplify wood’s many attributes,” said Jennifer Cover, executive director of WoodWorks/Wood Products Council, “from structural performance and design versatility to sustainability and cost effectiveness.” WoodWorks is an initiative of the council and the organizer of the awards program.

In total, nine national awards were announced, each for a different category. They were:

Multi-Story: The Radiator, Portland, Oregon
PATH Architecture; Munzing Structural Engineering; Kaiser Group

The five-story mass timber building is constructed with a system of glulam beams and columns to take on gravity loads, accompanied by light-frame dimension lumber walls. Thick timber decking was utilized and left exposed on the undersides to imbue contemporary character in interior spaces.


The Radiator; photography by Josh Partee Photography and Caitlin Murray

Commercial: Framework, Portland, Oregon
Works Partnership Architecture; TM Rippey Consulting Engineers; Yorke and Curtis

An aluminum and glass curtain wall gives passersby glimpses of this office building’s Type V heavy timber frame as 80 percent of the wood structure was left exposed. The framework comprises Douglas-fir glulam columns and beams, dimension lumber framing and decking and other mass timber products.


Framework; photography by Joshua Jay Elliott

Government: Chicago Horizon, Chicago
Ultramoderne; Guy Nordenson and Associates; FH Paschen

Built as a public pavilion for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, this minimal structure sports a cross-laminated timber slab roof supported by 13 glulam columns that were installed in a radial pattern to handle the lateral loads and uplift. The first project in the Windy City to utilize exposed CLT, the pavilion is intended to serve as a commercial vendor or public assembly space now that the biennial has concluded.


Chicago Horizon; photography by Tom Harris of Hedrich Blessing

Institutional: Fire Station 76, Gresham, Oregon
Hennebery Eddy Architects; Nishkian Dean Structural Engineers; Bremik Construction


Fire Station 76; photography by Josh Partee Photography

Consisting of two masses, the fire station houses living quarters in one and the apparatus bay in the other. The bay features a vaulted design accentuated by 27-foot-high Tudor-style glulam arches and glulam roof framing as well as tongue-and-groove decking. Meanwhile, the attached living quarters incorporates open-web trusses, LVL I-joists, wood-frame walls and plywood shear walls. On part of the exterior, the siding is reclaimed Douglas fir with a shou sugi ban finish.


Fire Station 76; photography by Josh Partee Photography

Educational: Our Lady of Montserrat Chapel, Seattle
Hennebery Eddy Architects; Coughlin Porter Lundeen; Sellen Construction

Located on a Catholic college and high-school campus, the glulam post-and-beam building boasts a dramatic wood window-wall that affords views of a forest canopy. A soaring timber shed roof, left exposed on the underside, appears to float on a series of clerestory windows, drawing the eye upward.


Our Lady of Montserrat Chapel; photography by Josh Partee Photography and Andrew Pogue

Beauty of Wood — Innovation: China Pavilion Milan Expo 2015, Milan
Studio Link-Arc and Tsinghua University; Simpson Gumpertz and Heger; Bodino Engineering

At last year’s World’s Fair (aka Milan Expo 2015), the China Pavilion presented a stunning roof profile that was achieved using a series of timber rafters with custom curvatures, longitudinal purlins and exterior bamboo screens that attached to the rafters.


China Pavilion Milan Expo 2015; photography by Sergio Grazia

Beauty of Wood — Craft: Whitetail Woods Regional Park Camper Cabins, Empire Township, Minnesota
HGA Architects and Engineers; Dakota County School District

A new regional park has new residents in the form of three camper cabins (also shown at top) that were built by the county’s employees with the help of local high-school students. Nestled into a hillside, the cabins were built on concrete piers — to minimize environmental impact — 14 and 16 feet above grade. Each 307-square-foot cabin comprises a red-cedar glulam chassis, cedar and pine framing and red cedar cladding with dark cedar shingles on the exterior that enable the cabins to camouflage amid the surrounding trees.


Whitetail Woods Regional Park Camper Cabins; photography by Paul Crosby and Peter VonDeLinde

Green Building by Nature: Nest We Grow, Hokkaido, Japan
University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design; Kengo Kuma Architects and Associates; Takahashi Construction Company

The winner of a university design competition, this sustainable housing concept was constructed at the LIXIL JS Foundation’s Memu Meadows farm. It features a translucent polycarbonate skin over a glulam frame, a ground-floor grid of nine composite columns to receive beams and girders and a combination of steel and wood cross bracing.


Nest We Grow; photography by Shinkenchiku-sha and Hsin-Yu Chen

Green Building by Design: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon, Bend, Oregon
Hacker; Walker Structural Engineering; Kirby Nagelhout Construction Co.


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon; photography by Lara Swimmer Photography

This wood-frame project was designed to be a sustainable church structure and, as such, was strategically oriented for passive solar heating. It also boasts onsite stormwater collection, natural ventilation, supplemental radiant floor heating and certified wood products. The exterior framing is a combination of gang-nail trusses and I-joists spanning to glulam-and-steel wide-flange girders.


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon; photography by Lara Swimmer Photography

While the Pacific Northwest seemed to dominate this year’s competition, seven regional excellence winners were also announced and will be recognized at the North Central Wood Solutions Fair in Minneapolis this spring.

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