Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in wood. The competition is free to enter and aims to encourage and promote outstanding timber design, craftsmanship and installation. The independent judging panel visits all the shortlisted projects in person, making this a uniquely rigorous competition. The Awards are split into two main categories: Buildings and Furniture & Product. Within the Buildings category there are five subcategories and a Structural Award. Furniture & Product is split into Bespoke and Production. The Gold Award is given to the project that the judges deem to be the winner of winners.
Gold Award Winner - Education & Publiuc Sector
The judges chose Magdalene College Library as this year’s Gold Award and Education & Public Sector category winner. Judge Jim Greaves comments, “Magdalene College Library is a tour de force of architectural design and achievement. The different forms of the reading rooms are beautiful and experienced sequentially as they lead one through the building. The brick, timber and stone has been designed exquisitely with a thorough understanding of their intrinsic qualities."
Commercial & Leisure Winner
The Commercial & Leisure winner is The Alice Hawthorn. Judge Ruth Slavid comments, “This is modest architecture in a highly achieved manner, with everything thought through carefully. It achieves the desired agricultural character, but this is an agricultural building with a level of sophistication never seen before. The result is a series of delightful buildings where all the judges who saw the project would love to stay.”
The Interiors winner is St John Street. Judge Jonas Lencer says, “I was impressed by the light touch interventions which gave the warehouse apartment a new identity. The project stands as an example for continued use of a long-lasting, but carbon intensive brick and concrete structure supported by high quality timber interiors.”
The judges selected The Boathouse as the Private winner. Judge Kirsten Haggart comments, “A fabulous hand-built home with a wonderful story. The use of local materials, except for the two Canadian spruce trees, and local labour overseen by the owner, a craftsman with attention detail and a rigour in his approach, make this a worthy winner.”
Small Project Winner
Built: East Pavilion is this year's Small Project winner. Judge David Morley says, "We all know what a Belfast sink is but few of us knew what a Belfast truss was until we were presented with this project. This modest project deserves recognition for how it uses timber to positively engage the community as a flexible place to move through, meet, mend bicycles or, initially, to hold an exhibition to remind the community of its heritage."
Structural Award Winner
The Structural Award winner is The Welcome Building RHS Garden Bridgewater, chosen from all the shortlisted buildings. Judge Andrew Lawrence comments, “An important new public building that uses the well detailed timber structure as the centrepiece of the architecture. The structural solution provides for the necessary long spans and openness, whilst creating a warm and dramatic interior space.”
Gayles Farm 5 is this year's Bespoke winner. The judges were impressed by the piece's sculptural presence and how it celebrates movement. It highlights the preciousness of the material and draws the viewer in to examine its form and the quality of the individual pieces.
Iso-Lounge Chair was selected as this year’s Production winner. The Furniture & Product judges are particularly impressed by the standard of projects in this category. The judges praised the Iso-Lounge Chair’s accomplished making and extreme comfort. Judge Corinne Julius comments, "It has surprising merit in that it is a piece of sculpture that disappears when sat on."
The buildings judging panel is led by Jim Greaves of Hopkins Architects. The panel includes Andrew Lawrence, Arup; Kirsten Haggart, Waugh Thistleton Architects; Nathan Wheatley, engenuiti; David Morley, David Morley Architects; architectural journalist Ruth Slavid; and Andy Trotman, Timberwright. The furniture and product panel is led by design critic, curator and journalist Corinne Julius. The panel includes Oliver Stratford, editor of Disegno magazine; Rod Wales of Wales & Wales; and previous winners Yael Mer of Raw-Edges, Eleanor Lakelin, and Sebastian Cox.
As a not-for-profit competition, the Wood Awards can only happen with collaborative industry sponsorship. Major Sponsors are American Hardwood Export Council, Binderholz, The Carpenters' Company and Timber Development UK. Other Sponsors include American Softwoods.