The Rothschild Foundation in Buckinghamshire stole the show and the top award in this year’s hotly contested Wood Awards 2011 competition. The ceremony was held on the 27th September, the first day of new exhibition Timber Expo at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Stephen Marshall Architects saw off competition of an exceptionally high standard to win the Structural category, before being crowned the winner of winners in front of nearly 250 leading industry and architectural figures. As the UK’s premier architecture and furniture awards programme for excellence in wood, the Wood Awards recognises innovative design and craftsmanship in the world’s most natural material.
The Rothschild Foundation has this year already won a RIBA Award 2011 and was mid-listed for the 2011 Stirling Prize. Michael Morrison of Purcell Miller Tritton and chairman of the judges, praised the new archive and offices for charity investment organisation The Alice Trust, saying “The Rothschild Foundation is a wonderful piece of modernism married to a Victorian farm in the depths of the English countryside. The standard of work is a testament to the care and professionalism of everyone associated with the project. It is truly stunning.” The construction of the buildings in timber was inspired by the former use of the site as a farm populated by timber barns with vertical boarding and roof trusses. The main space in the scheme, the archive reading room, was designed as a modern reinterpretation of a barn structure, with a consummately detailed European oak gridshell roof supported on triangular struts.
Other winners for 2011 included Brockholes Visitor Centre in Lancashire by Adam Khan Architects for the Commercial & Public Access Award, Strange House in London by Hugh Strange Architects for the Private / Best Small Project Award, and Diamond Hall at the University of Ulster in Co. Antrim by Samuel Stevenson & Sons won the Conservation/Restoration Award. ‘Windsor Rocker’ gave Katie Walker Furniture their second* Furniture Award win, and in acknowledgement of this year’s impressive Furniture shortlist, furniture went on to take two of the Special Awards, with Outstanding Design going to Sebastian Cox’s ‘Suent Superlight Chair’ using coppiced hazel, and Outstanding Craftsmanship being awarded to ‘The Manolo Lounger’ in American black walnut by John Galvin Design. The Innovation Award went to Atmos Studio for 081-23MR – Stairs, which the judges called “a beautifully designed piece of 3D joinery…fluid and dynamic. A tour de force.”
The Wood Awards is made possible by its sponsors, led by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the Carpenters’ Company, the Forestry Commission, Wood for Good and TRADA.
The Wood Awards 2012 Call for Entries will open in March 2012. For further information, visit www.woodawards.com.
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* Katie Walker Furniture won the Wood Awards 2006 Furniture category and Innovation Award with her ‘Ribbon Rocking Chair’.
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The Wood Awards 2011
The Wood Awards is the premier award for wood in buildings and furniture.
The winners’ ceremony was held on 27th September at Timber Expo in Coventry.
Sponsors of The Wood Awards 2011 include the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, the Forestry Commission, TRADA, Wood For Good, American Softwoods, the British Woodworking Federation, the Malaysian Timber Council, Canada Wood, Ontario Wood and the Québec Wood Export Bureau.
Full details of all sponsors and information on The Wood Awards can be found at www.woodawards.com.
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Additional Notes on Wood Awards 2011 Winners
Structural Category and Gold Award Winner
Winner: Rothschild Foundation, Buckinghamshire by Stephen Marshall Architects using European oak. See release for judges’ comments.
Structural – Highly Commended: Far Moor Bridge, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority using Scottish larch. The judges said, “This bridge is a very good example of what can be done with clever design and locally available materials. It fits wonderfully well into this landscape and as the timber weathers it will look even more appropriate.”
Commercial & Public Access Category
Winner: Brockholes Visitor Centre, Lancashire by Adam Khan Architects and Price & Myers, using Austrian engineered timber, British timber oak shakes and structural insulated panels (SIPs). The judges said, “The scheme was greatly admired for the intelligence with which the concept had been developed. The floating village of barn-like structures, formed from glulam frames infilled with SIPS panels and clad inside and outside with oak, is a true delight. Simple and sophisticated.”
Highly Commended: The Apex, Arc, Bury St. Edmunds by Hopkins Architects using American white oak. The judges said, “The auditorium is a real pleasure to be in with the clean lines of the galleries and the splendid timber roof. For such a flexible space it is remarkably uncluttered.”
Private/Best Small Project Category
Winner: Strange House, London by Hugh Strange Architects using Swiss spruce, and Nicaraguan cedro macho, guapionol and nanciton. The judges said, “”The cross-laminated timber panels double as structure and finish. The solid Nicaraguan hardwood joinery provides a fine contrast to the white stained CLT panels. This shows what can be achieved by intelligent design with a small site and a modest budget. Brilliant.”
Highly Commended: The Watson House, Hampshire by John Pardey Architects using larch and fir cross laminated panels and sweet chestnut cladding and joinery. The judges said, “The use of the chestnut cladding is both appropriate and attractive. Internally the main living room is plastered but elsewhere the CLT panels are visible and again this seems to be exactly right.”
Winner: Diamond Hall, University of Ulster, Co. Antrim by Samuel Stevenson & Sons using Canadian western red cedar and walnut. The judges said, “This is a very fine example of how careful and intelligent design can give a new life to a building that could easily have been demolished. Conservation in every sense of the word.”
Winner: Windsor Rocker by Katie Walker Furniture, using English ash. The judges called it “very innovative, sophisticated and beautiful; a complex piece of making and an amazing piece.”
Outstanding Design: Suent Superlight Chair by Sebastian Cox Furniture using coppiced hazel. The judges said it was, “Remarkably comfortable, for a minimal piece with industrial simplicity.”
Outstanding Craftsmanship: The Manolo Lounger by John Galvin Design in American black walnut. The judges said, “”The concept is very simple, and it has been made utterly beautifully.”
Innovation: 081-23MR – Stairs by Atmos Studio using engineered oak herringbone parquet, MDF, and European oak. The judges said, “It is difficult to believe that something so fluid could be made out of flat sections of material, and achieved in such a tour de force. Realised through intelligent design and precise machining, this is very special technology which has been elevated by craftsmen to deliver a bespoke and very special project.”