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The best in Ontario wood design celebrated

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by Patricia Williams last update:Sep 26, 2014

A select group of the province’s architects, engineers and project teams received Wood Design Awards at the 12th annual Ontario Wood WORKS! celebration in Toronto.
The Gathering Circle at the Spirit Garden in Thunder Bay, Ont., winner
of the Jury’s Choice Award in the 2012 Ontario Wood WORKS!
awards program, occupies a highly visible waterfront location overlooking
Lake Superior.
The Gathering Circle at the Spirit Garden in Thunder Bay, Ont., winner of the Jury’s Choice Award in the 2012 Ontario Wood WORKS! awards program, occupies a highly visible waterfront location overlooking Lake Superior. - Photo: Wood WORKS!

The awards recognize people and organizations that, through design excellence, advocacy and innovation are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction sectors across the province.

“These are exciting times for wood design,” said Marianne Berube, executive director of the Ontario Wood WORKS! project.

“Ongoing technical advancement in the forest product and construction industries, alongside creative design thinking, is giving rise to an incredible new generation of wood buildings.

“Design and construction solutions that incorporate sustainably sourced wood products support forest industry employment in the province, significantly lower the carbon footprint of any building, reduce our dependence on non-renewable materials and fossil fuels, and provide warm, beautiful, human-centered environments.”

In all, 12 awards were presented. In the projects category, winners were:

— Inovo Centre, Hearst. (Ontario Wood Award). Architect: PBK Architects; Engineer: Genivar. The new award recognizes the significant contribution the forestry sector makes to the Ontario economy by honouring a project that uses an abundance of Ontario-sourced wood products. All wood in the structure came from within a 30-kilometre radius of the centre. The project overcame code challenges with local officials and demonstrates innovation through creative uses of standard dimensional lumber.

— Vale Living with Lakes Centre, Laurentian University, Sudbury. (Green Building Wood Design Award).

Architect: J.L. Richards & Associates Ltd. in association with Perkins + Will; Engineer: J.L. Richards & Associates Ltd. The structure of the 2,600-square-metre centre is glulam post-and-beam with wood-framed infill walls and solid wood floor and roof decks. The upper portion of the two-storey facility is clad in eastern white cedar. Locally sourced and manufactured wood products were used extensively. The centre is estimated to be 70 per cent more energy-efficient than a conventional building of the same size and type.

— Metropolitan Pharmacy, Toronto. (Interior Wood Design Award). Architect: JET Architecture Inc.

The interior fit-out combines traditional millworking methods with leading edge industrial technologies. A building information model was used to refine the form of the construction while computer numerically controlled milling was used to cut out the components of the millwork.

— +HOUSE, Mulmur. (Residential Wood Design Award). Architect: superkül. The four-season house in rural Ontario was designed to minimize its environmental impact and to integrate with its natural surroundings. Wood products played a central role in achieving the project’s design goals.

— 360 Lofts condominium, Ottawa. (Multi-Unit Wood Design Award). Architect: Farrow Dreessen Architect Inc. (successor firm to Dreessen Architect); Engineer: AAR. Wood construction was an early choice for the 38-unit, 2,072-square-metre in-fill building, due to the tight footprint of the property and limited site access.

— Kingston Park revitalization, Chatham. (Institutional-Commercial Wood Design Award, project valued at less than $10 million). Architect: Brown and Storey Architects Inc.; Engineer: Y. C. Liu Engineering Ltd.

The washroom pavilion along with three new picnic pavilions took an innovative stance in the usage of already-felled ash trees that had been lost to the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. The recovered white ash was lumbered in Chatham and milled for the siding and fascias of all pavilions.

— District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board office, Thunder Bay. (Institutional-Commercial Wood Design Award, project valued at more than $10 million). Architect: FORM Architecture Engineering; Engineer: FORM Architecture Engineering. The three-storey, 54,800-square-foot building demonstrates that wood can be used structurally in large building occupancies.

— Water garden pavilion, Thunder Bay. ((Northern Ontario Excellence Award). Architect: Brook Mcllroy; Engineer: Blackwell Bowick Partnership Ltd. The 8,000-square-foot, mixed-use building was created in wood from structure to finishes. On the pavilion’s exterior, ash wraps a series of HSS columns, which in turn support an over-extended black ash soffit. Ash also frames the pavilion’s doorway entrances and windows.

— The Gathering Circle at the Spirit Garden, Thunder Bay. (Jury’s Choice Award). Architect: Brook Mcllroy and Ryan Gorrie; Engineer: Blackwell Bowick Partnership Ltd. An open-air theatre, meditation space and event area, the circle is the central component of a larger waterfront park area. Its design reflects an adaptation of a traditional Aboriginal bentwood building technique. Young spruce trees were harvested in the spring by a local craftsman and bent and lashed to create 20 arched, truss-like column supports. The trusses were then mounted along the circumference of the circular platform and layered with a pattern of curved cedar strips creating a semi-enclosed shroud.

last update:Sep 26, 2014

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