Last night [14 October] The Wood Awards were presented at The Carpenters’ Hall in London in front of over 200 leading lights in the industry. Britain’s premier architecture and furniture competition recognises innovative design in wood and this year the judges were more impressed than ever with the high standard of entries. The coveted Gold Award went to London’s Kings Place Concert Hall which also picked up the Commercial and Public Access Award.
Holding 420 people, Kings Place Concert Hall possesses state of the art acoustics and boasts an elegant interior. The concert hall amplifies the sense of intimacy, yet it is large enough to accommodate a small orchestra which has seen the Hall regularly being used for live radio broadcasts. The design, a collaboration between architect Dixon Jones Ltd and Arup Acoustics, ticked all the right boxes for the independent judging panel who commented that this is a “truly outstanding project which is a tour de force of precision joinery, balancing acoustic performance with the pure rational geometry sought out by the architect”.
Structural Engineers Price and Myers walked away with the Structural Award for Deal Pier Café and Bar. Commissioned by Dover District Council, the brief was to replace the existing cafe which had suffered substantial corrosion as a result of its seaside location.
Challenged with the task of trying to find a material suited to the harsh conditions, Iroko was selected as the primary material due to its highly durable nature. Apart from the technicalities of the project, the look of the Pier Café also proved a hit with the judges. They commented: “Perched on the end of the pier, the rhythmic, repetitive design of this structure creates in itself a complete stunning building with razor sharp detailing”.
The Private category was won by a refurbished Victorian House in West Dulwich. Having been poorly converted in the 1960s, Carson Road was gutted before construction could commence leaving Knox Bhavan Architects with a blank canvas. This allowed them to create “a beautifully detailed suburban family home using a variety of timbers and contractors”.
The winner of the Conservation/Restoration category this year was The Merchant’s House, described by the judges as “a labour of love undertaken to rescue a house and restore it to its former glory”. Renovated with passion, its owner developed a true architectural relationship with the building and demonstrated both determination and patience. For these reasons The Merchant’s House was widely praised and admired for the “quality and attention to detail achieved throughout”.
The overall winner in the Furniture category was Gloster Furniture Limited’s Elan Outdoor Furniture, which also triumphed in the Exterior Furniture sub category. The beautiful outdoor chairs and tables were especially praised for their “intriguing designs and exceptional quality of construction.”
Other Winners on the night were Oak Bridge by McMorran & Gatehouse Architects for the Best Use of British Timber, Hoddinott Hall by Capita Architecture for Best Use of Panel Products, Falmouth School in Cornwall for Offsite Construction and West Mayfield by Oliver Chapman Architects Ltd for Best Small Project.
The Wood Awards is supported by various generic sponsors, led by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the Carpenters’ Company and the Forestry Commission.
With the introduction of the new furniture sub categories and the already established popularity of the Awards in the architectural world, interest is already gathering for next years Awards with the entry period opening in March 2010. For further information, visit www.woodawards.com.