The Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association (WPMA) run the Timber Design Awards and received a record number of 122 entries, subsequently undergoing a detailed two-stage judging process. According to WPMA Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie, “these Awards have again proved how imaginative design and structural integrity can combine to deliver beautiful timber buildings.” The winners and highly commended finalists were celebrated by 250 guests at an elaborate gala dinner in late September.
According to the four judges (and I was lucky to be one of these), the top entries made great use of engineered timber products through combined efforts between design-make-assembly roles.
“It’s evident there is great collaboration between architects, engineers, suppliers, fabricators and builders to produce some outstanding and highly innovative timber buildings and structures. The real stand-outs were those that went a step further, displaying a mature professional approach, an evocative sophisticated outcome, or a surprising twist.”
“It’s evident there is great collaboration between architects, engineers, suppliers, fabricators and builders to produce some outstanding and highly innovative timber buildings and structures. The real stand-outs were those that went a step further, displaying a mature professional approach, an evocative sophisticated outcome, or a surprising twist.” Timber Design Awards judges.
Entrants competed within ten categories covering everything from residential and commercial architectural excellence to engineering innovation, multi-storey construction and student innovation. Structural performance and aesthetic excellence were highlighted across all categories.
TIMBER DESIGN AWARD WINNERS
The stunningly evocative He Tohu Document Centre from PrefabNZ Member Studio Pacific Architecture won the Supreme Award and Cymon Allfrey’s Family Bach was a worthy runner-up.
The He Tohu Document Centre within the National Library of New Zealand won awards for both interior innovation and the overall award. “Highly developed manufacturing technologies are woven together with traditional timber materials, showcasing how timber can deliver technological, social and cultural value in a beautiful way” said the judges. Digital design technology and computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) milling are showcased in this structure of prefabricated timber parts.
Commercial architectural excellence was won by Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana, the new visitors’ centre at Lake Waikaremoana. “This stunning building is highly spiritual, carefully considered, and ultimately connected to its site – it is exceptional architecture of place,” said judges. PrefabNZ Members Tennent Brown Architecture and Dunning Thornton Consultant engineers worked together to produce an elegant catenary roof line and a ‘living building’ approach to sustainability. Dead Totara timber from the surrounding area was used alongside recycled timber from the original visitor’s centre, along with burnt timber elements from Abodo.
The Multi-Storey Timber Building Award was a new category, for projects over three-storeys in height. This was won by Te Pa Tauira – Otago Polytechnic Student Village in Dunedin, which was the first five-storey all-timber building in the country. Extensive use of XLam’s Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) technology have resulted in a great prototype for cost-effective and highly-sustainable accommodation building.
Engineering innovation and excellence in engineered wood products were both recognised in the winning Mt Pleasant Community Centre. This Christchurch building emerged after the 2010-11 earthquakes, with its iconic folded plate roof-
CMA+U: Mount Pleasant Community Centre Hall
form and origami-influenced wall structure. The structure is the surface, with an innovative use of prefabricated Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) triangular billets formed through digital fabrication technologies. The team was led by thought-champion Chris Moller of CMA+U, alongside Makers of Architecture, MOTM, Dunning Thornton and Leighs Construction.
Special mentions go to Ged Finch’s X-frame for his student-led prefabricated CNC plywood system utilising maximum material sheet and minimising waste, and the Seafood Research Centre for showcasing several Nelson region prefab timber products, such as Potius box-beams, XLam CLT and Nelson Pine LVL columns. The centre’s beautifully expressed structural joints exhibit refined architecture and engineering together.
“These awards prove that using sustainable and engineered wood products for all types of buildings offer health and safety benefits as well as structural resilience and aesthetic beauty,” the judges said. “The high quality of entries shows that timber design is becoming an even more innovative and mature discipline. It’s fantastic to see the growing use of local prefabricated products such as CLT, glulam and LVL in a broader range of applications with some stunning results.”
A CLIENT PERSPECTIVE – IRENE BIRT’S EXPERIENCE WITH ENGINEERED TIMBER
Irene Birt runs a home staging business, working with real estate agents to prepare homes for sale by fitting them out with furniture and furnishings from her home in Karaka in Auckland, New Zealand. Her business has outgrown its 12 storage units and needed a new centralised distribution facility.
Irene and husband Max researched light-gauge and medium-gauge steel solutions alongside engineered timber. Futurebuild® Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) was chosen for its affinity with their own life ethos – Max owns a sawmilling business.
“THE WHOLE PROCESS WAS PRETTY PAINLESS”
A hyFRAME portal frame solution was chosen to be as simple, easy and cost-effective, yet strong and reliable as possible. The prefabricated portal frame solution arrived on site as components ready to be assembled into bays on the ground. The completed frames were then stood in place in a single day using a crane. The benefits of using LVL were in both safety and productivity, with reduced time working at height, as well as a faster programme overall.
Futurebuild LVL is made from FSC Certified renewable plantation pine through a precise manufacturing process. Layers of peeled wood veneers are laminated together with glue, heat and pressure. Natural defects are minimised, which optimises the strength and rigidity of the section and results in a solid, reliable and uniform building material.
For the Birts, the entire process was easy. The 6m bay product offering came in clear pre-designed spans (12 or 15m) and heights (3.6, 4.2 or 4.8m) and included framing components, technical know-how, a Producer Statement for the structure, structural and construction drawings. The clients and builders were able to utilise technical and engineering support from a team of experts. ■
Pamela Bell PrefabNZ CEO