Wood Awards 2019, Winners Announced
22nd November 2019

Wood Awards 2019, Winners Announced

The winners of the annual Wood Awards were announced at a ceremony held on the 19th November at Carpenters’ Hall in London hosted by Priya Khanchandani, editor of Icon magazine. Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is free to enter and aims to recognise and encourage outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.


Cork House

The judges selected Cork House as this year’s Gold Award and Private category winner. The Gold Award is given to the winner of winners. Judge Ruth Slavid comments, “This is a really exciting project. Not just a house, it is also a piece of research.”

Location: Eton
Architect: Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton
Client: Matthew Barnett Howland and Dido Milne
Structural engineer: Arup
Main contractor: Matthew Barnett Howland with M&P London Contractors Ltd
Joinery: Whyte & Wood
CNC machining of cork blocks: Wup Doodle
Internal joinery: Nic Rhode Furniture
Furniture: Tom Graham Workshop
Wood supplier: NFP Europe Ltd
Wood species: Portuguese cork oak, New Zealand pine, Estonian spruce, American/Canadian western red cedar, Austrian spruce and American white oak

Cork House is built almost entirely from cork and timber. Monolithic
walls and corbelled roof pyramids are built with loadbearing expanded cork made from the bark of the cork oak tree, a byproduct from wine stoppers. The house, which is adorned with five skylight-topped ziggurats, is a prefabricated kit of parts. Blocks of expanded cork were CNC-machined off-site and then assembled on-site by hand without mortar or glue. All 1,268 pure cork blocks will be available at end-of-building-life as either biological or technical nutrients. A CLT floor platform, finished with oak floorboards, rests on Accoya beams supported on steel screw piles. Accoya is also used for the bespoke doors, windows and external steps. Western red cedar weatherboarding is used on the roof and rear façade. All internal built-in joinery and loose furniture is made from spruce. Internally, the exposed cork and timber create a rich, evocative, sensory environment.


Royal Opera House ‘Open Up’

The Commercial & Leisure winner is the Royal Opera House ‘Open Up’. The TTF’s member, Swift Crafted Ltd, was the main contractor on this stunning design. The judges admired how the new design reads as a complete building, yet seamlessly connects with the main spaces of the existing space.

Location: London
Architect: Stanton Williams
Client: Royal Opera House
Structural engineers: Arup, Robert Bird Group
Main contractor: Swift Crafted Ltd
Joinery: Birmingham Veneers Ltd, TT Gillard, Thornell Veneers
Construction manager: Rise
Wood supplier: Missouri Walnut LLC
Veneer supplier: Reliance Veneer Co Ltd

Striking the right balance between heritage and 21st century life, the transformation of the Royal Opera House reimagines the world-renowned home of ballet and opera. Improved access and transparency, a completely new Linbury Theatre and new foyers, terraces, cafes, bars, restaurant and retail facilities extend the building’s life outside of performance hours. At entrance level, subtle timber elements inlaid in the stone floor offer a warm welcome. Descending into the double-height Linbury Theatre foyer, the atmosphere becomes more intimate and theatrical as exquisitely book matched veneer surfaces are complemented by elegant linear grids of timber batons and solid wood parquet. The Linbury Theatre is entirely clad in black walnut, inspired by the rich cherry cladding in the main 1858 Opera House auditorium. Lights, acoustic insulation and sound equipment are integrated within the timber.


Cambridge Central Mosque

Cambridge Central Mosque was selected as the Education & Public Sector winner. Judge David Morley says, “This building is an exemplar of how wood can enable a structure to become the primary representational element of a building. This is a hard project to beat.”

Location: Cambridge
Architect: Marks Barfield Architects
Client: Cambridge Mosque Trust
Structural engineer: Price & Myers
Main contractor: Gilbert Ash
Joinery: The Deluxe Group
Wood supplier: Mayr-Melnhof Holz Reuthe GmbH
Timber frame engineer & installer: Blumer Lehmann
Project manager: Bidwells
Building services & sustainability consultant: Skelly & Couch
Wood species: European spruce, oak and mahogany

The first purpose-built mosque in Cambridge is a calm oasis of contemplation within a grove of trees, inspired by an image of the garden of paradise – with its water fountain symbolising the source of all life. Timber was chosen for its natural, warm and calming qualities. The expressed vaulted structure is glulam, while the surrounding wall and roof structure is CLT. The guiding geometry of the building is The Breath of the Compassionate, a historic Islamic pattern which evokes breathing in and out. Repeating star octagons are converted into a continuous structural pattern and projected onto the three-dimensional fan vaulting form. Alternate octagons are converted to the structural columns or ‘trunks’. The 30 trees create an overall impression of stillness, quiet and focus. 2746 pieces form the vaulted structure. Wherever possible metal connectors have been replaced with half lap joints for continuity of timber grain.


Battersea Arts Centre

The Interiors winner is Battersea Arts Centre. Head buildings judge Stephen Corbett comments, “The design philosophy, imagination, originality, and the meticulous modelling, prototyping and execution made this stand out
as a project of high quality.”

Location: London
Architect: Haworth Tompkins
Structural engineer: Heyne Tillett Steel
Main contractor: 8build
Lattice ceiling joinery: Joinery Fixing and Finishing Ltd
Wood supplier: IBL
Wood species: European poplar plywood with birch faces

In March 2015, a fire broke out in the northern half of the 1890’s grade II* listed building destroying the roof to the largest performance space. The original decorative plaster barrel vaulted ceiling was completely lost. Rather than replicating the lost ceiling, a contemporary plywood lattice ceiling was conceived. The new ceiling follows the curvature of the original and echoes the motifs in the plasterwork. It is much more porous and suitable for a modern theatre’s requirements. The new ceiling is constructed of three layers of 18mm thick birch-faced plywood. Many apertures provide multiple rigging and lighting positions from the technical walkway built into the roof space above. Hidden banners within the roof space provide a variety of acoustic options.


House in a Garden

This year’s Structural Award winner is House in a Garden, chosen from all the shortlisted buildings. Judge Nathan Wheatley said, “House in a Garden is an exceptional structural form of elegant and slender timber ribs, a structural arrangement which is exciting, efficient and responds perfectly to the study of natural light.”

Location: London
Architect: Gianni Botsford Architects
Structural engineer: Built Engineers
Main contractor: New Wave
Roof Structure: ZÜBLIN Timber GmbH
Joinery: New Wave
Stair manufacturer: SteelOne srl
Wood supplier: Roof ZÜBLIN Timber GmbH, Floors, Walls, Ceilings, Stairs Dinesen
Landscape architect: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan
Wood species: European spruce, birch and Douglas fir

Replacing a dilapidated bungalow built in the 1960’s in the garden of an 1840’s villa, the house is on ground and two basement floors surrounded by gardens, light wells and skylights. The ground-floor, pavilion-like structure floats, creating distant views through gaps in the city skyline. Wood is used throughout the project: structurally for the roof; as wall, floor and ceiling linings; and for the floating staircase. The glulam structure is unique in terms of the double curvature and the slender section sizes. The roof curves into an oculus. Shaped and informed by light and shadow, the roof’s tent like form creates a new place for life to occur. Wood-lined ‘internal’ spaces (living rooms and bedrooms) are juxtaposed with marble-lined ‘external’ spaces (wet areas, pools and courtyards).


The Kissing Benches

The Furniture & Product judges selected two winners within the Bespoke category. Alison Crowther’s The Kissing Benches were awarded for their simplicity and how honest they are to the material.

Designer/maker: Alison Crowther
Client/owner: Glyndebourne
Wood supplier: Neil Humphries
Timber conversion: Vastern Timber
Photography: Jacqui Hurst
Wood species: English oak

The Kissing Benches were made for the newly reinvented Figaro Garden at Glyndebourne. The garden required something that would complement and not draw attention away from the Henry Moore sculpture. These benches are a contemporary take on an old style of outdoor seating, designed to enable people to engage in conversation, embrace or kiss. Gigantic beam sections of green English oak have been hand-carved to create an ergonomic and attractive seat surface. The benches were hand-carved using traditional gouges and mallets.

David Gates’s Littoral Chances 1&2 received an award for its singular vision and how it highlights just how much a material can be adapted to an individual’s style.

Designer/maker: David Gates
Vitreous enamel on steel panels: Helen Carnac
Wood supplier: Adamson & Low, English Woodland Timber and Timberline
Wood species: European oak, bog oak, ripple sycamore, Cedar of Lebanon and Douglas fir, American bird’s eye maple

This unmatched pair of collecting cabinets is based on the beauty of chance composition. Gates is drawn to industrial and agricultural architecture, including jetties and pylons, and the paraphernalia that populates these sites, such as containers and crates. Gates is often struck by the balance and beauty of chance compositions; how stacked and piled objects present themselves sculpturally. The timber has been sawn, scraped, planed, and cleft to emphasise the woods’ varying surfaces. The cabinets appear chaotic and improvised but are carefully made using adaptations of traditional construction techniques. The handshaped elliptical section of the legs echoes that of yacht masts, further extending the link to the estuary landscape.


Ian McChesney Bench

Ian McChesney Bench is the Production winner. Judge Sebastian Cox comments, “Seeing something in the production category that is so sculptural is lovely.”

Designer: Ian McChesney
Manufacturer: Benchmark
Wood supplier: PB Hardwoods and English Woodlands Timber
Wood species: European oak or American Black Walnut

These highly crafted benches are made in two sizes. The gallery bench is designed to sit in the middle of a room and is 900mm deep to allow for sitting on both sides. The foyer bench is designed to sit at the edge of the room and is 600mm deep to allow for sitting on one side only. The gently pillowed top and bottom give the benches a very natural feel. They are carved initially on a 5 axis CNC machine and then assembled and finished by hand to create the elegant edge profile. They are finished with hand applied natural hard wax oils to keep the timber looking and feeling as natural as possible.


Bio Iridescent Sequin,

The winner of the Student Designer category is Bio Iridescent Sequin, which the judges praised as a refreshing alternative to finishes and colour within the fashion industry. Head judge Corinne Julius says “Wood encompasses all kinds of experimentation. Students can help us appreciate new developments and manners of wood’s qualities.” Brunato has been awarded a £1,000 cash prize as winner of this category.

Designer/maker: Elissa Brunato
University/college: Central Saint Martins, Material Futures
Bio-engineering wood/cellulose: Research Institutes
of Sweden (RISE), Hjalmar Granberg and Tiffany Abitbol
Wood species: Canadian softwood Kraft pulp

Bio Iridescent Sequin is a response to the unsustainable shimmering beads and sequins currently used in fashion and textiles. Brunato’s sequin uses bio-technologies to create colourful shimmering sequins from naturally abundant wood. Through extracting the crystalline form of cellulose, the wood imitates the alluring visual aesthetics of shiny plastic while remaining lightweight, strong and compostable. Brunato is working alongside material scientists Hjalmar Granberg and Tiffany Abitbol from RISE Research Institutes in Sweden.


Udon Stool

Anton Mikkonen has received £500 for winning the Student Designer People’s Choice Award with Udon Stool. Voting took place at 100% Design in September.

Designer: Anton Mikkonen
University/college: The Sir John Cass School of Art
Wood Species: ash

As a young boy Mikkonen was fascinated by woodgrain and knots. He would look for knots near each other and create faces and other shapes. With the Udon Stool, Mikkonen has matched the uniqueness of woodgrain with a very unique aesthetic. The stool consists of five parts, all CNC routed with a 2D CNC machine. The holes for the legs were also cut out with the CNC router and the legs were then added by hand.


The buildings judging panel is led by three-time Gold Award winner Stephen Corbett of Green Oak Carpentry. The panel includes Andrew Lawrence, Arup; Adam Richards, Adam Richards Architects; Kirsten Haggart, Waugh Thistleton Architects; Nathan Wheatley, engenuiti; David Morley, David Morley Architects; Jim Greaves, Hopkins; and architectural journalist Ruth Slavid. The furniture and product panel is led by design critic, curator and journalist Corinne Julius. The panel includes Oliver Stratford, editor of Disegno magazine; designer/makers Sebastian Cox and Eleanor Lakelin; Yael Mer of Raw Edges Design Studio; and Rod Wales of Wales & Wales.


As a not-for-profit competition, the Wood Awards can only happen with collaborative industry sponsorship. Major Sponsors are American Hardwood Export Council and Carpenters’ Company. Other Sponsors include American Softwoods, Arnold Laver, Timber Trade Federation, TRADA and Wood for Good.