Waitomo’s Trans-Tasman victor

Adding to its treasure trove of wins, the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves is at it gain, this time taking out an award at the inaugural Trans-Tasman Timber Design Awards. Entrants in the awards were comprised of finalists from the recent Australian and New Zealand national timber design awards. 

The combined effort of Dunning Thornton engineers, Architecture Workshop, and Hunter’s Laminates, the Waitomo building took out the ‘community’ section of the awards. 

“It captures the environmental and cultural values of the location with its complex wooden structure containing echos of the Maori traditions which are so much part of the area,” says Geoff Henley, programme manager of NZ Wood, the New Zealand sponsors of the awards. 

“Creating this structure was clearly a very challenging undertaking and from a timber design and construction point of view it is showing the way in what can be achieved in wood, in multi-storey and multi-dimensional timber construction. It also demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration between the various parties to the construction.” 

Only three categories featured in the awards, and it was the Ozzies that took out the remaining two. 

Winning the residential category was Burridge Read residence in NSW, designed by David Boyle of David Boyle Architects

“The imaginative design and detailed crafting of this building propelled it into first place in the recent Australian Timber Design Awards and it is a worthy winner of a Trans-Tasman Award,” says Andrew Dunn, chief executive of the Australian Timber Development Association, the Australian sponsors of the awards. 

The final category of commercial construction was taken out by the Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa. The architecture was noted for its honest, refined, and quiet, deferring to the natural beauty, scale and complexity of its unique site. The design references identifiable Australian rural building forms, and enriches them with refined contemporary detail elements, allowing the character of the buildings to unfold slowly. 

“This is another structure where wood is used to express the essence not only of the building but its location. Also a category winner in the Australian Timber Design Awards, this is an example of a trend towards using traditional materials such as wood and stone to produce a structure of human scale and affinity,” says Dunn. 

And putting all entries under scrutiny was a panel of judges used in each country’s national timber awards, including Elvon Young and Ross Davison from New Zealand and Kate St James, Richard Hough, Michael O’Donnell and Brian Hopper from Australia.

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