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Top notch craftsmanship hailed at Timber Design Awards

Top notch craftsmanship hailed at Timber Design Awards

Architects and engineers are starting to see the wood among the trees, according to NZ Wood Council chief executive Jane Arnott.

“The irony escapes nobody how we are absolute world beaters in growing wood faster than any country but we are not the fastest in embracing its almost infinite potential as a construction material," she said at the NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards last week.

But this year's awards, she says,  could signal a breakthrough of new interest in timber.

One of the four Timber Design Awards judges, architect Pip Cheshire, said this year’s awards left a very strong impression of the growing influence of science in timber design and construction

"What we are seeing is traditional ground where a skill saw and a hammer still prevail but science is growing in influence," he said.

"There is also a confluence of circumstances which have conspired to turn our attention towards timber. It might even have started with the leaky building issue. Architects are very conscious of energy consumption and of their role as major agents in selecting materials in an industry which consumes large amounts of energy. Architects are also attracted to the sustainability of timber. The Canterbury earthquake also proved that some other building materials might not be so flexible and this seems to have triggered more thinking about timber.”

This year’s Timber Design Awards attracted 93 entries across nine categories – a record in the awards' 30-plus year history. Of these, 38 were selected for second stage judging and 14 recognised with awards – from a hut on sleds to outdoor cycle bridges.

Residential Architectural Excellence

Highly commended: Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

hut on sleds timber design awards 2012On the shore of an idyllic white sandy beach in the Coromandel Peninsula rests an elegant hut for five. It is designed to be removable with thick wooden sleds and offers double height doors to close up against the elements.

The judging panel’s comments:

“Alludes to a way of living on the landscape that is a bit foreign - a compact but beautifully formed bach that appears incredibly warm and ‘enclosing’ inside. Once it is open it is exposed with full height doors which enable one to feel touch with the beach that they are parked upon.

Winner: Under Pohutukawa by Herbst Architects

under pohutukawa timber design awards 2012This site, 90 percent covered in mature pohutukawa trees, required a poetic response. The private functions of the bedrooms and garage are housed in two towers and the public space attempts to engage with the surrounding pohutukawa forest.

The judging panel’s comment:

“Such a good understanding of how to live. Judges were impressed with the way the canopy structure reflected the structure of the trees outside. Lovely strip timber on ceilings, beautiful soft layered use of timber from outside through to the eventual warmth and enclosure of within. Herbst Architects have nailed New Zealand coastal living like nobody else.”

Commercial Architectural Excellence

Highly Commended: Scots College Hodge Sports Centre by Athfield Architects and Clendon Burns & Park

scots college timber design awards 2012The Hodge Sports Centre features a primary structure of curved LVL portals to form two sides to a covering shell of polycarbonate cladding. The secondary structure is made up of timber LVL purlins notched into the portals and steel cross bracing tension rods.

The judging panel’s comment:

“Well detailed connections, functional and simple and a cost-effective solution. The sports centre is a contemporary, high-tech reworking of the classic school gymnasium.”

Winner: Auckland Art Gallery - Toi O Tamaki by FJMT & Archimedia - Architects in Association

auckland art gallery design awards 2012The new Auckland Art Gallery is characterised by a series of five tree-like canopies made from carefully selected kauri. In total there are 2000 square metres of precise geometric patterns. Not a single living kauri was felled during this project.

The judging panel’s comment:

“Visually stunning! Provides a welcoming front door to the gallery that links the city with the trees in Albert Park.”

Engineering Excellence

Highly Commended: Carterton Events Centre by Opus International Consultants, Holmes Construction & Juken New Zealand Ltd

carterton events centre timber design awards 2012The events centre includes a 300 seat multi-use town hall/auditorium, refurbished and strengthened public library, exhibition and community spaces. The auditorium’s innovative pres-lam system uses locally grown and manufactured LVL as large vertical shear walls held in place with internal post-tensioned high strength steel rods. The walls rock in an earthquake. LVL is also utilised for 20-metre span roof trusses.

The judging panel’s comment:

“Impressive use of new technology fitted out to achieve a high level of damage avoidance well detailed to reflect the different nature of the two structures allowing them to move in relation to each other”.

Winner: Massey University College of Creative Arts building by Arrow International, Athfield Architects, Dunning Thornton Consultants and Massey University Wellington

massey college of creative arts timber design awards 2012The structure includes the world’s first multi-storey timber frame. The building is designed as a series of discreet components which allowed for prefabrication and quicker erection on site. Supported by the timber frames are innovative, prefabricated LVL/precast concrete composite floors that are notably lighter than a traditional system.

The judging panel’s comment:

“The structure wears its engineering as an ideological statement – engineering everything and turning this into architecture. While incredibly high tech, it is typically kiwi in its self-effacing practical exterior.

Exterior Innovation

Winner: Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

hut on sleds timber design awards 2012

The judging panel’s comment:

"Featuring macrocarpa as cladding, shutters and impressive hinged doors encourages us to see timber as a total exterior solution. A highlight is the two storey timber shutter on the front façade that winches open to form an awning.”

Interior Innovation

Highly Commended: Christchurch Airport Air NZ Regional Lounge by BVN and Jasmax

christchurch airport regional lounge timber design awards 2012Glulam pine spans over 55 metres long by 4.5 metres high with steel plate connectors at the joints. The saw tooth acoustic ceiling panels made of hoop pine veneer of MDF and hoop pine plywood fins adorn the mini Koru club. In addition the lounge features an acoustic wall and ceiling lining of battens in stained Tasmanian oak and painted pine.

The judging panel’s comment:

“A busy airport lounge is transformed into a beautifully expressive and calming space. Timber contributes the warmth and is a counterpoint to the buildings exposure to wear and tear.”

Winner: Wood Family House by Bull + O'Sullivan Architecture

2012 timber design awards residentialThe Wood family and their architect wanted to recognise that timber is the core of the New Zealand house. The interior of demolition kauri and cedar works to generate strength for this family of four. There is a critical reference to the Maori church and the ceiling composition works to integrate all timber features.

The judging panel’s comment:

“The use of timber enables beautiful sculptural surfaces to resonate - the parquet flooring and the wonderfully sculptured ceiling…. at a time when ceilings are often ignored... a demonstration of brilliantly unstoppable enthusiasm for timber.”

Timber Innovation in Business

Highly commended: Post-tensioned Timber Logging Bridge by PlunkettStream Forest#3 Ltd (represented by Prof Andy Buchanan, University of Canterbury)post tensioned logging bridge

This is the first post-tensioned timber box-girder bridge in New Zealand. It is efficient both structurally and economically. It addresses the need for crossings over environmentally sensitive rivers to enable commercial logging, of course, radiata pine. With almost 8000 tonnes of logs nearby nearing maturity, the construction of a commercially viable bridge relied solely on the brilliance of the team at the University of Canterbury School of Engineering.

The judging panel’s comment:

“Kiwi do-it-yourself with a high engineering component. A simple, yet highly technical, solution. It responds to the environmental needs and enables a heavily loaded bridge that facilitates the milling of a plantation.

Highly commended: University of Auckland: Elam Student Residence - Module Production by Dunning Thornton Consultants, Stanley Group, Assembly Architects & Motm Architects

2012 timber design awards The challenge was the delivery of a 468 suite, 16 storey student accommodation tower in time for the 2012 University of Auckland academic year – requiring nine months removed from the building programme. The units comprised of LVL, sawn timber, ply and panel products , required off-site factory production, rapid customisation and fabrication.

The judging panel’s comment:

“This heralds a sea change for building in New Zealand and a first major departure from convention. Relevant to hospitals, hotels and student halls, and all multiple use accommodation. It is a huge leap, relying on timber as the primary fabrication material for the structure and joinery in a tall building.

Winner: TUMU ITM Building Centre Napier by The University of Auckland - Strata Group Consulting Engineers Ltd - Alexanders Construction

2012 timber design awards itm building centreIn this project, inventors, engineers and builders collaborated to use the EXPAN Quick Connect concept – an expedient moment connection for portal frames. It is the first major use of the Quick Connect in a large span warehouse application.

The judging panel’s comment:

“This construction takes away a barrier to engineered timber that being the assembly of components during construction. A level playing field has been created with steel. A conventional nail plywood steel gusset building takes time but with two timber sections, this building is easier and faster to assemble, while preserving strength. It has the potential to gain significant market share across the spectrum of retail, warehouse and industrial scale buildings “

Indigenous Timber

Winner: Auckland Art Gallery by Fjmt & Archimedia – architects in association

auckland art gallery design awards 2012

The timber was procured from either recycled sources, existing stockpiles that had been procured prior to government legislative changes in 1993 or from bush kauri.

The judging panel’s comment:

“A startling and most impressive impact is made by the height and grandeur of the kauri timber canopies. They are absolutely beautiful. From the drawing board to the final construction, this represents real crafting.”

Canterbury Rebuild Innovation

Highly Commended: Trimble Navigation Office and Warehouse by Opus International Consultants

trimble timber design awards 2012Opus designed a new Pres-Lam structure to replace Trimble Navigation’s office and warehouse, which was destroyed by fire in 2011. Upon completion it will be the first building in New Zealand to use both post-tensioned LVL frames and walls with energy dissipating devices for the load resisting system. Additionally beam column joints incorporate forced rocking points and timber composite floors have been designed to reduce noise penetration and vibration.

The judging panel’s comment:

"This is a significant advance for the application of engineered timber in commercial construction at a scale – 6000 square metres –and breaks away from being another box like structure on the streets of the new Christchurch.”

Winner: Hollow Timber Rounds by mlb Consulting Engineers

hollow timber rounds timber design awards 2012A rapid, new foundation system utilising radiata pine logs that have been ‘cored’ to create a hollow member of up to 18m in length. The hollow timber rounds are driven down using jets of water through the hollow core and vibration. This removes the need for pile driving…thereby reducing foundation costs. The ‘rounds’ have additional construction applications as structural elements in residential and commercial buildings.

The judging panel’s comment:

This represents a major breakthrough innovation. The rounds address a central issue that plagues many building owners in Christchurch – how to reach solid /stable foundation material economically."

Sustainability Award

Highly commended: Kokohuia Lodge by Cameron Pollock Studio

kokohuia lodge timber design awards 2012Located at Omapere in the Hokianga, the lodge is nestled within a canopy of kanuka, manuka and cabbage trees. The building is primarily timber sourced from sustainably managed forests, much of which was grown and milled in Northland. Internal timbers are predominantly macrocarpa finished with natural house eco-oil. The flooring is clear finished eucaplyt, the property is managed on organics principles and proudly operates off grid with solar electricity and water heating and has obtained NZ Tourisms Enviro-Gold status.

The judging panel’s comment:

“A stand-out lodge, where lots of sustainability issues are included - it is off-grid, and the efficient plan and energy efficiency over winter months is reinforced by pervasive and celebratory use of timber."

Winner: Hauraki Rail Trail Bridges by Frame Group

kurere bridge hauraki plains trail design awards 2012The Hauraki Plains Trail is part of the NZ Cycle Trail.

The considered use of locally sourced radiata pine and a design that facilitated the capability and plant resources of small local contractors reinforced the efficiency gained in design and construction terms. Three structural types were used for 25 bridges, timber pole beams, glue laminated timber beams and cable suspension. Importantly the project demonstrates the sustainability benefits and advantages of timber for recreational infrastructure rather than more common steel or concrete options.

The judging panel’s comment:

“All the locally sourced timber materials are applied to the utterly familiar yet exhilarating bridge. Over time it will just blend in - two towers with cross bracing acting as a signpost, to cross here.”