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British Columbia's best wood projects earn awards

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by Bradley Fehr

The best designed wood projects in British Columbia were given their due at a recent awards gala in Vancouver. More than 350 architects, engineers and other building professionals gathered for the 7th Annual Wood Works! BC Wood Design Awards at the new Vancouver Convention Centre.
The Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C.
The Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C.

The best designed wood projects in British Columbia were given their due at a recent awards gala in Vancouver.

More than 350 architects, engineers and other building professionals gathered for the 7th Annual Wood Works! BC Wood Design Awards at the new Vancouver Convention Centre.

“Wood Works! BC is proud to recognize and honour outstanding professionals in the design and building communities who continue to explore the potential of wood, reaffirming its many attributes, and showing us what is possible through their remarkable accomplishments,” said Mary Tracey, executive director of Wood Works! BC.

Vancouver-based architect Bing Thom was a big winner on the night.

He earned the B.C. Premier’s Wood Champion Award, as well as the 2011 Architect Award.

“Wood provides both a beautiful structure and finish, and there is also an increasing recognition that wood is the best environmental choice,” he has said.

“We want our designs to take advantage of wood’s capabilities and show its strengths and innovations.”

Thom was given the awards for working with wood on a number of projects around the world.

His showcase project, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C., was said to demonstrate a masterful use of wood and the jury appreciated the architect’s ability to push the envelope on the design.

In total, there were 82 nominations in 12 categories. Most of the projects were located in B.C., but there were a couple national and international projects nominated as well.

The Green Building Award went to Russell Acton of Acton Ostry Architects for the Salt Building near the former Vancouver Athletes Village in Southeast False Creek.

The project involved the restoration and rehabilitation of a landmark 1930’s building. More than 98 per cent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills and 10 per cent of the new materials were regionally sourced.

The Wood Innovation Award went to Christian Blyt of Greenhus Designs for his product Corelam.

It is a multi-use corrugated veneer plywood panel<0x000A>product, made with renewable Canadian and U.S based<0x000A>Forest Stewardship Council veneers and laminated with advanced adhesives and finishes.

The product was in development for 15 years, but is now on the market.

The jury called it a significant innovation in manufactured wood, which will be welcomed by designers.

The 2011 Engineering Award went to Gerry Epp of Fast + Epp Structural Engineers.

The jury selected him for the award for what they called an innovative and unique footbridge in Princeton, B.C., the Bridge of Dreams.

Several other projects and architects took home some hardware.

The Institutional Wood Design – Large Award went to Darryl Condon with Hughes Condon Marler Architects for the Aquatic Centre at Hillcrest Park.

The Institutional Wood Design – Small Award went to Craig Duffield, McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd. for the Tla’Amin Community Health + Multi-Purpose Centre, Powell River, B.C.

The Carousel Pavilion at Butchart Gardens, in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island, earned Condon his second award of the night.

The project earned him the Commercial Wood Design Award.

The Interior Beauty Design award went to Franc D’Ambrosio with D’Ambrosio architecture + urbanism for the Atrium in Victoria, while the Western Red Cedar went to the Government of Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage for the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.

Two residential awards were also handed out.

The Multi-Unit Residential Wood Design Award went to Philip MacDonald with Philip MacDonald Architect. Inc. and the Residential Wood Design award went to Scott M. Kemp with Scott M. Kemp Architect for the Guscott/Kemp Residence, Ladner.

“2011 marks a coming of age for the wood culture in B.C.,” said Tracey.

“More than ever before, builders and designers are embracing wood for its beauty, sustainability, strength, versatility and cost-effectiveness. We are truly in awe of the innovative and unique ways that wood has been used both architecturally and structurally.”

Wood WORKS! BC provides education, training and technical expertise to building and design professionals involved with non-residential construction projects throughout B.C.

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