Timber producing ‘elegant’ structures

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Innovative use of wood in building design produced elegant structures with an updated, contemporary feel, according to the judges for the 2008 Timber Design Awards.
Announced in Auckland late last year, the awards ranged across eight categories from residential architecture to outdoor infrastructure.

The winning entries included a Department of Conservation visitor centre, a lake house, the Meridian Energy building in Wellington, a footbridge and a fit-out for a film production company.
Lawrie Halkett from one of the award’s sponsors, the Pine Manufacturers’ Association, says the awards had attracted a record number of entries from architects, designers, engineers and builders.

“It’s fantastic to see the growing interest in using timber in building design, often in non-traditional situations.
“Wood’s environmental credentials combined with advances in timber engineering are encouraging new uses of wood in construction, moving beyond residential and into low-rise commercial applications.”

For instance, the Government now requires all its own new buildings of four storeys or less to consider wood options in the concept design stage, he says.
New Zealand is not alone in this trend. In London, a nine-storey residential high-rise is being built using wood for its core structure, and elsewhere in Europe a 14-storey wooden building is being planned.

Geoff Henley from NZ Wood, the main sponsor of the awards, says it was pleasing to see the traditional qualities and values of wood being reinterpreted to complement modern aesthetic taste and to answer the growing interest in natural, sustainable materials.

“Wood is something we’ve all grown up with. It was often treated as a commodity and, at times, taken for granted. But, increasingly, now it’s seen by architects and designers as a cutting-edge material, imbued with warmth and natural beauty,” Mr Henley says.

Awards winners were:

Sustainability: Joint-winner: Mathew Waterfall from Mathew Waterfall Architecture jointly with Craft Architects for The Sub, Auckland; Marc Woodbury, Studio Pacific Architecture, for the Meridian building, Wellington.
Outdoor Infrastructure: Shwan Alhasimi, from Beca Architects for the Onepoto Footbridge, Auckland.

Cladding building envelope: Richard Goldie, Peddle Thorp Architects, for Wharewaka House, Taupo.
Interior Fitout: Daniel Marshall of Daniel Marshall Architects, for Cinco Cine, Auckland.

Residential architectural excellence: Simon Twose of Simon Twose Architect, for Sheerwater lakehouse, Kaipara.
Residential Engineering Excellence: Paul Gladman of Paul Gladman GN² design for Mahurangi West Rd, Warkworth.
Commercial Architectural Excellence: Gavin Robins of Stiles and Hooker Ltd for the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre, Thames.

Commercial Engineering Excellence: Gary Newton of Structural Concepts Ltd and Peter Roil of Kanuka Engineered Wood Products Ltd for the Processing Factory for Kanuka Engineered Wood Products Ltd, Hastings.