Wood Awards 2017 announces winners

The winners of the annual Wood Awards have been announced at a ceremony held on the 21st November at Carpenters’ Hall in London hosted by Johanna Agerman Ross, Founder of Disegno magazine and Curator of Twentieth Century and Contemporary Furniture and Product Design at the V&A.

The Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s only naturally sustainable material. The Wood Awards aims to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.

Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s only naturally sustainable material. The Awards are free to enter and aim to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.

Arnold Laver Gold Award & Interiors Winner

Coastal House, Devon by 6a architects, has been awarded the Arnold Laver Gold Award, the winner of winners. The project is also the Interiors category winner. The judges were seduced by this entry while looking at the shortlisted builds. The interior of this house uses timber in several different ways to create a wonderful home which feels natural and unaffected.

  • Location Dartmouth
  • Architect 6a architects
  • Structural Engineer Price & Myers
  • Main Contractor/Builder JE Stacey
  • Joinery Company Touch Design Group
  • Wood Supplier Traditional Oak and Timber Co.
  • Wood Species French Oak, British Douglas Fir, British Pin

Coastal House, Devon is an early-twentieth century family home with extensive views of the sea. The house has been transformed by stripping it back to its stone walls. Originally raised on a plinth above a basement, the ground-floor has been lowered to the level of the ground. This has increased the size of the rooms and created tall, elongated openings to the outside. A series of oak beams make up the exposed primary structure. The internal spaces have been completely reconfigured. Three floors on the north end of the house connect to two floors on the south. Each space has a distinct volume and ceiling height, with the central stair offering clear views through the whole house. Tapered oak verticals are used as supports throughout, including primary drawing room columns, external veranda posts and the stair spindles.

Commercial & Leisure

The judges selected Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre & Museum as the Commercial & Leisure winner as it does something highly unusual – it creates an abstract, numinous space using timber as an expressed structure.

  • Location Helmsley
  • Architect Simpson & Brown
  • Client/Owner English Heritage
  • Structural Engineer Dosser Group
  • Main Contractor/Builder Simpson (York) Ltd
  • M&E SDS Engineering Consultants
  • Quantity Surveyor RNJ Partnership
  • Joinery Company/Wood Supplier Cowley Timber & Partners
  • Wood Species Scandinavian Spruce
  • Photography Credit Giles Rocholl Photography

The aim of the project was to upgrade the museum building to meet modern curatorial standards, encourage visitors into the ruins, and improve facilities. A glulam spruce central hall has been inserted into the existing Lshaped timber visitor centre. Visually the new structural frame echoes the existing columns and arches of the abbey ruins. The frame gradually splays 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. These panels are exposed where possible and stained to match the mainframe. The 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.

Education & Public Sector

Maggie’s Oldham was chosen as the Education & Public Sector winner as dRMM have created a sensitive interior that is also a world-first.

  • Location Oldham
  • Architect dRMM
  • Client/Owner Maggie’s
  • Structural Engineer Booth King UK
  • Timber Advice & Procurement American Hardwood Export Council
  • Main Contractor/Builder F Parkinson
  • Structural Timber Subcontractor Züblin Timber
  • Machining of Fluted Cladding Morgan Timber
  • Window Manufacturer Falegnameria Aresi
  • Cost Consultant Robert Lombardelli Partnership
  • Wood Supplier Middle Tennessee Lumber, Morgans Timber and Northland Forest Products (NFL)
  • Wood Species American Tulipwood, American White Oak, American Ash, American Black Walnut

Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres offer free practical and emotional support for people affected by cancer. The design of Maggie’s Oldham is less about form and more about content. Supported on slender columns, the building floats above a garden framed by pine, birch and tulip poplar trees. From a central oasis, a tree grows up through the building, bringing nature inside. Maggie’s Oldham is the first permanent building constructed from sustainable tulipwood CLT. The tulipwood has been carefully detailed to bring out its natural beauty. The slatted ceiling was created from wood left over from the CLT fabrication process, ensuring no waste. Externally the building is draped in custom-fluted, thermally modified tulipwood.


The winner of the Private category was Hampshire Passivhaus. The judges were impressed by the design, craftsmanship and attention to detail.

  • Location Hampshire
  • Architect Ruth Butler Architects
  • Structural Engineer Price & Myers
  • Main Contractor and Joinery Company Nicholas Coppin Ltd
  • CLT Manufacturer KLH UK Ltd
  • Building Services Engineer Cundall
  • Wood Supplier Timbmet
  • Wood Species European Spruce, European Oak, Siberian Larch

Hampshire Passivhaus is a self-build home on the south coast. It is an L-shaped detached dwelling, creating private courtyard spaces, on a tight brownfield site with multiple neighbours. Spruce CLT panels form the entire super structure, walls, floors and roof. The spruce panels give a tactile and harmonious quality to the living spaces and bedrooms. The prefabricated CLT superstructure was complete and 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 Siberian larch rainscreen cladding, chosen for its straight grain, uniform texture and durability. The untreated larch ages over a short period of time to become silver, providing a maintenance free finish well suited to the coast.

Small Project

Feilden Fowles Studio was selected as this year’s Small Project winner. The judges praised the how simple yet beautifully thought through the project is.

  • Location Waterloo City Farm, London
  • Architect and Client Feilden Fowles Architects
  • Structural Engineer Structure Workshop
  • Main Contractor and Builder Miles Builders
  • Joinery Company Timber Workshop
  • Wood Supplier S H Somerscales Ltd
  • Wood Species British Douglas Fir

Feilden Fowles master-planned Waterloo City Farm from the design of animal pens, sheltered outdoor classroom and barn, to their new studio which was offered in exchange for their design services. The positioning of the studio against the north boundary creates a south-facing courtyard garden. The timber frame structure clad with corrugated Onduline sheets, can be dismantled and re-erected when the lease comes to an end. The materiality and approach are redolent of agricultural building forms. To the north the timber frame projects at high level to articulate large lights which run the full length of the space, referencing traditional artist studios and providing generous diffuse light and cross ventilation. The long south elevation is articulated by steel T-columns and full-height glazing shaded by the overhanging roof. The 1830mm column grid and 2440mm datum running around the ply-lined interior, demonstrates how proportions have been carefully calibrated to minimise cuts and waste.

Structural Award

The Smile was awarded this year’s Structural Award, which chosen from all the buildings shortlisted in each category. The judges were impressed by the ease with which The Smile rested in place which masked some impressive and complex engineering.

  • Location Chelsea College of Art, London
  • Architect Alison Brooks Architects
  • Client American Hardwood Export Council / London Design Festival
  • Structural Engineer Arup
  • CLT Manufacturer MERK Timber GmbH, Züblin Timber
  • Main Contractor/Joinery Company Aldworth James & Bond
  • Lighting Designer SEAM
  • Balustrade Joinery John Stidworthy
  • Wood Species American Tulipwood

Conceived as a habitable arc, The Smile was a 3.5m high, 4.5m wide and 34m long curved timber tube that cantilevered 12m in two directions with viewing platforms at both ends. Up to 60 visitors could enter at one time through an opening where the arc touched the ground. Innovative solutions using long screws were developed, allowing the opening to be in the most highly stressed region. The Smile was the first project in the world to use large hardwood CLT panels, the entire structure was made from just 12 tulipwood panels, each up to 14m long and 4.5m wide. The CLT panels were connected with 7,000 self-tapping screws. At the base, a glulam timber cradle filled with 20 tonnes of steel counterweights, allowed the project to be self-supporting. Perforations in the walls, concentrated in areas where there was less stress in the structure, brought dappled sunlight into the interior and dispersed where the timber was structurally working harder.

Further awards were given in the product design categories. Further information can be found at woodawards.com


As a not-for-profit competition, the Wood Awards can only happen with collaborative industry sponsorship. Arnold Laver sponsors the Arnold Laver Gold Award which is the project that the judges deem to be the best of all the winners. Major Sponsors are American Hardwood Export Council, the Carpenters’ Company, TRADA and the London Design Fair. Other Sponsors include American Softwoods, Forestry Commission, Timber Trade Federation, Wood for Good, the Furniture Makers’ Company and Party Ingredients. This year’s invitation sponsor is Timbergram