Success for American Hardwood projects at Wood Awards 2018

The American Hardwood Export Council is delighted to announce that three projects using American hardwoods have been successful in the Wood Awards 2018. The winners were revealed at the annual Wood Awards ceremony at Carpenters’ Hall on 20th November, by ceremony host David Hopkins, Director of the Timber Trade Federation. 

Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s most naturally sustainable material. The Awards are free to enter and aim to encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood. The judging panels visit all the shortlisted projects in person, making this a uniquely rigorous competition.


Highly commended in the Production category

Wood Species: American walnut
Designer: Foster + Partners
Manufacturer: Benchmark
Wood Supplier: PB Hardwoods

The range celebrates the age-old tradition of craftsmanship in everyday objects. Durability and careful detailing have been combined with strong materiality to create a range that is tactile and generous. Fitting for both commercial and domestic spaces, the collection includes two variants of dining table, accompanying benches, sideboard, shelving unit, high table, stool and occasional tables. The collection relies on the tactility of wood. The boldness and simplicity of the forms demand perfection in execution of the craft. The judges were particularly impressed with the quality of the range’s production.

David Venables, European Director of AHEC, says: “We are delighted with this year’s wins. There are some worthy projects here that show the scope and versatility of American hardwoods and all the architects and designers are to be heartily congratulated on their creativity and innovation.”

Read the full case study >


Winner of the Interiors category

Wood Species: American cherry
Location: London
Architect: Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd
Client/Owner: Royal Academy of Music
Structural Engineer: WSP
Main Contractor: Geoffrey Osborne Ltd
Joinery: James Johnson & Co. Ltd
Specialist Theatre Electrics & Lighting: Push The Button
Acoustic Engineer: Arup
Wood Supplier: Hardwood Sales, Brooks Bros, Lathams

Two exceptional performance spaces have been integrated within the Academy site. The 309-seat American cherry-lined Susie Sainsbury Theatre now forms the heart of the Academy. Inspired by the curved shapes of string instruments, it has been acoustically refined to deliver excellent sound qualities. Each acoustic treatment has it's own graded detailing to blend the sound in all directions.

Ruth Slavid, one of this year's Wood Awards judges, says, "The Royal Academy of Music has acquired two new performance spaces that offer necessary facilities with a lot of ‘wow’. Visitors come up the staircase and emerge into the main performance space, which is warm and exciting. The architect has created a timber enclosure in which the doors disappear and the acoustic variation has been achieved with an unusual approach of ‘library shelves’. The warmth and luxury are contemporary."

Read the full case study >


Winner of the Mears Group Gold Award and the Commercial & Leisure category

The Mears Group Gold Award is the winner of winners and chosen by the judges from the all category and award winners.

Wood Species: American white ash, European oak, Canadian western red cedar
Location: Cambridge
Architect: MUMA
Client/Owner: University of Cambridge
Structural Engineer: Aecom
Main Contractor: Farrans Construction Ltd
Joinery: C W Fields
Glulam Structure: Just Swiss
Spiral Stair Fabricator: Spiral UK Ltd
Cedar Shingle Supplier: Marley Eternit
Wood Supplier: Brooks Bros, D F Richards

The 100-place nursery is arranged around three sides of a landscaped courtyard. On the fourth side, is the civic scaled community centre including a 180-seat main hall. The principal rooms are lined in oak panelling. The main hall, influenced by the dining halls and chapels of Cambridge colleges, uses an exposed, articulated timber structure. The slender spruce glulam portal frames spring from the oak panelled base and pass in front of a backdrop of American ash veneered panelling; the tones of the timber gradually lightening up the height of the space. A structural ceiling of layered U.S. ash joists, battens and veneered plywood conceals air extract routes for the hall’s passive ventilation strategy. The hall provides a venue for a range of activities and its acoustics can be adjusted to suit. At the west end, an American ash spiral stair is a sculptural element wrapped by a curved veneered ash plywood balustrade. The nursery's turret roofed classrooms are clad in western red cedar as are the soffits to the covered nursery cloister.

Steve Corbett, chair of the Wood Awards buildings judging panel, comments "This building achieves a harmonious outcome and is as much about the internal space as the body of the building. The proportions are just right, and the articulation and contrast of the structural framing and the panelling and linings work together effectively."