Architectural creativity and craftsmanship are showcased in the 2017 Wood Awards shortlist


Twenty projects, ranging from dRMM’s Hastings Pier to Hamish & Lyons’ Stepping Stone House (above), have been shortlisted for the 2017 Wood Awards. The judging panel, led by architect Michael Morrison of Purcell, will visit all the shortlisted projects, which will be exhibited at the London Design Fair from 2124 September. The winners will be announced at the annual Wood Awards ceremony at the Carpenters’ Hall in November. Established in 1971, the Wood Awards aims to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood. The awards are split into two main categories: Buildings and Furniture & Product, and within the former are five subcategories: Commercial & Leisure, Education & Public Sector, Interiors, Private and Small Project.

Stepping Stone House

Disconnected, under-used and flood-prone outbuildings have been redeveloped by architect Hamish & Lyons to form additional living accommodation for an existing house on a heavily constrained site in Maidenhead (above). The design seeks to connect the family with the calming effects of nature through the use of daylight, organic structure and natural materials. The smaller of the two new buildings is a self-contained guesthouse. The larger building, connected to the existing house via a structural glass bridge, is a multifunctional space primarily used as a playroom. Stilts elevate the buildings above the lake, lifting them clear of the floodwaters and allowing flush access to the existing house. Much of the building was prefabricated, allowing a short construction period.


Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre

Simpson & Brown’s project aims to upgrade Rievaulx Abbey’s existing museum building to meet modern curatorial standards, encourage visitors into the ruins, and improve facilities at the North Yorkshire site. A glulam spruce central hall has been inserted into the existing L-shaped timber visitor centre. Visually the new structural frame echoes the existing columns and arches of the abbey, gradually splaying open to reveal previously obscured views. The frames are connected by CLT sheeting at roof level and a perimeter edge beam containing concealed lighting and services. Slot windows formed within the vertical CLT panels echo the local timber agricultural buildings and provide discreet views to the terrace. Off-site fabrication solved the problems of a restricted site and tight programme over winter.


Hastings Pier

The destruction of much of Hastings Pier by a fire in 2010 led to an opportunity of redefining the role of a pier for the twenty-first century. dRMM’s re-design provides a well-serviced platform that can support many uses, from big-top circuses to international markets. A new visitor centre has replaced the weak central section of the damaged pier. The centre is a CLT structure clad in salvaged pier decking. Reclaimed timber deck furniture was designed by dRMM and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling as part of a local employment initiative. The experience of free space and ‘walking on water’ is heightened by a louvred balustrade design and quality timber deck. The new pier offers flexibility, material and functional sustainability, and an uninterrupted vista of the natural and built surroundings of the special seaside town of Hastings.


Oak-lined House

A dark, compartmentalised Victorian terrace house in London has been reconfigured by Knox Bhavan to transform it into a light and airy home. All internal, and rear external walls were removed at lower-ground-floor level to create open plan spaces that spill out into the garden. Oak veneered joinery lines the walls to conceal structural supports and building services, whilst maximising functionality and storage. The cantilevered solid oak treads of the new staircase appear to balance on the joinery below. Flip-down dressing tables and desks, and wardrobe pocket doors concealing the client’s audio-visual equipment, were designed for upstairs. At raised ground floor level, veneered oak joinery ‘floats’ off the floor on either side of a large glass fire screen, providing hallway storage and bookshelves. Further up, oak-veneered study doors open to become wall linings, allowing light to flood through to the staircase.


Hampshire Passivhaus

A self-build project on the south coast by Ruth Butler Architects, the Hampshire Passivhaus is configured as an L-shape, creating private courtyard spaces on a tight brownfield site with multiple neighbours. Spruce CLT panels form the entire superstructure, walls, floors and roof, lending a tactile, harmonious quality to the living spaces and bedrooms. The prefabricated CLT superstructure was completed and made watertight in just four days. European oak bespoke joinery is used to highlight interior features including the open tread staircase, recessed handrails, worktops and integrated shelves. Externally, the house is clad in a rainscreen of Siberian larch, chosen for its straight grain, uniform texture and durability. The untreated larch, which changes over a short period of time to a silver colour, provides a maintenance-free finish well-suited to the coastal location.

All 20 shortlisted projects are illustrated below.

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