Elite Ontario wood design projects recognized

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PATRICIA WILLIAMS
staff writer at Daily Commercial News

An elite group of Ontario architects, engineers and project teams received design awards at the 11th annual Wood WORKS! celebration. The awards recognize people and organizations that, through design excellence and innovation, are advancing the use of wood in construction.

“Design professionals in Ontario are specifying wood in a wider variety of building types,” said Marianne Berube, Wood WORKS! Ontario’s executive director. “This is an exciting trend because the benefits of wood construction are so significant.”

Globally, she said, design solutions that incorporate sustainably sourced wood products help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“Since wood products actually store carbon, when we use wood in place of non-renewable materials that require large amounts of fossil fuels to produce, we greatly reduce the carbon footprint of any building.”

In addition to wood’s environmental advantages, Berube said new products and advancements in manufacturing have ensured that today’s wood products are “stronger, smarter and more versatile” than ever.

“As a result, applications for wood products are almost unlimited and, through design innovation, architects and engineers can create larger wood buildings of diverse occupancies that meet or exceed the requirements for safety and performance.”

In all, wood design awards were handed out in nine categories. Wood advocate and wood champion awards were presented as well.

Green Building Wood Design Award

The green building wood design award went to the Christopher Children’s Centre in Cambridge. (Lillepold Dowling Architects in association with CS&P Architects and engineers Blackwell Bowick Partnership Ltd.) Wood was incorporated as the primary structural element, a move which allowed for a rapid and low-tech construction system utilizing a renewable resource harvested to Forest Stewardship Council requirements.

Institutional Wood Design Award under $10 million

The Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre was recognized with the institutional wood design award for a project valued at under $10 million.

The institutional wood design award, for a project valued at under $10 million, went to the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre in Kenora. (Nelson Architecture Inc. and Lavergne, Draward & Associates.) The primary structural frame of the 6,500-square-foot facility consists of glulam beams and local white pine tree columns were exposed. All exterior and interior wall framing is wood stud. The mezzanine floor utilizes engineered wood joists with a plywood sub-floor.

Institutional Wood Design Award over $10 million

The institutional wood design award, for a project valued at more than $10 million, went to the Brooklin Community Centre and Library in Brooklin. (Perkins + Will Canada Inc. and Blackwell Bowick Partnership Ltd.) Wood was used for the structural roof decking “in order to evoke agrarian structures and to provide a sense of warmth and intimacy” within the 48,000-square-foot complex. Wood is used in a wide range of interior elements as well.

Northern Ontario Excellence Award

The Northern Ontario excellence award went to the Sioux Lookout Meno-Ya-Win health centre in Sioux Lookout. (Stantec Architecture Ltd. and Neegan Burnside Ltd.) The primary access point is constructed entirely of heavy timber. Tree-like columns support the timber beams and rafters of the octagonal wood roof structure, providing “a warm and welcoming “orientation device for patients and visitors alike. Further along a diagonal corridor is a canoe-shaped ambulatory lobby. Within this area, round timber columns support a system of timber trusses. The inpatient wing is surrounded by generous roof overhangs with regular timber-clad supports. Timber structure canopies protect and welcome the public at the main entrances to the facility.

Jury’s Choice Award

The jury’s choice award went to the Opeongo road house in Bancroft. (Levitt Goodman Architects Ltd.) Inspired by the wooden barns found in the surrounding landscape, the house features a well-insulated, high-quality wood exterior envelope. The wood structure is designed to withstand significant snow accumulation and the freeze/thaw phenomenon of spring. Window and door opening sizes and orientation were carefully tuned to take full advantage of natural ventilation and shading in summer and passive solar gain in winter. This allowed the house to be built without any mechanical air conditioning.

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