Celebrating excellence in wood design


    WoodWorks, an initiative of the Wood Products Council, announced the winners of its 2016 Wood Design Awards. “WoodWorks Wood Design Awards celebrate projects and design teams that showcase the innovative use of wood as both a structural and finish material,” said Jennifer Cover, P.E., executive director of WoodWorks/Wood Products Council. “Ranging from mass timber to traditional woodframe, this year’s winning projects exemplify wood’s many attributes, from structural performance and design versatility, to sustainability and cost effectiveness.”

    National awards are being presented in the following nine categories:

    • Multi-Story Wood Design
    • Commercial Wood Design
    • Wood in Government Buildings
    • Institutional Wood Design
    • Wood in Educational Buildings
    • Beauty of Wood — Innovation
    • Beauty of Wood — Craft
    • Green Building by Nature
    • Green Building by Design

    Seven Regional Excellence Awards will be presented at regional Wood Solutions Fairs beginning with the North Central Wood Solutions Fair in Minneapolis on March 23.

    Multi-Story Wood Design: The Radiator, Portland, Ore.

    Architect — PATH Architecture
    Structural engineer — Munzing Structural Engineering
    General contractor — Kaiser Group, Inc.

    At five stories, The Radiator is leading a surge of mid-rise mass timber buildings in the United States. The extensive use of wood begins with the building’s structure. Gravity loads are handled through a system of glulam beams and columns, and light-frame dimension lumber walls provide the structure’s shear capacity. A thick timber decking creates the structural floor diaphragm, and its lightness relative to other building materials translates into a more efficient and resilient overall structural system.

    The Radiator is fully sprinklered, which allowed the design team to put the structural system on display. Beams, columns, and the underside of the floor decking are left exposed, contributing to the interior’s contemporary industrial character. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the Radiator’s moisture management system is comprised of fiberglass mat gypsum sheathing, a peel and stick water/air/vapor barrier, and rain screen. This Type III, 36,000-square-foot project was completed in 2015 for a construction cost of $8.5 million.

    Commercial Wood Design: Framework, Portland, Ore.

    Architect — Works Partnership Architecture
    Engineer — TM Rippey Consulting Engineers
    General contractor — Yorke & Curtis, Inc.

    Completed in 2015, Framework was likened by its design team to a ship in a bottle — with its elegant wood structure visible to passers-by through its taut glass skin. With four stories of Type V heavy timberframe office space over ground-level retail, it is structurally similar to neighboring 100-year-old buildings, except, instead of masonry walls, an aluminum and glass curtain wall system clads the timber frame. It is this combination of convention and innovation that contributes to its success.

    The concrete base is carved, rising up to hold the framework display. Eighty percent of the wood is left exposed, and connections were custom designed to accentuate the framing system. In addition to Douglas- fir glulam columns and beams, Framework includes several other mass timber products and dimension lumber framing and decking. This 24,447-square-foot project was completed for a construction cost of $2.95 million.

    Wood in Government Buildings: Chicago Horizon, Chicago

    Architect — Ultramoderne
    Structural engineer — Guy Nordenson & Associates
    General contractor — FH Paschen

    A public pavilion for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago Horizon includes a cross laminated timber (CLT) roof supported on 13 glulam columns distributed in a radial pattern to address lateral loads and uplift. Elegantly crafted, the pavilion represents the first use of exposed CLT in the City of Chicago, providing local precedent for the approval and use of mass timber for government and public assembly applications. In addition, the two-way slab roof is the first of its kind, and raises the possibility of new CLT applications (such as office and assembly) due to the open-plan layout it affords.

    The planned long-term use of the building as a commercial vendor and public assembly space is a significant and sustainable departure from the typical design exhibition model of temporary installations. The long-term plan justified the use of mass timber for durability, fire resistance, thermal mass, and negative carbon footprint. Chicago Horizon was completed in 2015 for a construction cost of $300,000.

    Institutional Wood Design: Fire Station 76, Gresham, Ore.

    Architect — Hennebery Eddy Architects
    Structural engineer — Nishkian Dean Structural Engineers
    General contractor — Bremik Construction

    Fire Station 76 is divided into two masses — a vaulted apparatus bay and living quarters — which make extensive use of wood for structure and finish in juxtaposed fashion. The apparatus bay is highlighted by 27-foot, Tudor-style glulam arches, glulam roof framing, and tongue-and-groove decking. Part of the structural system, the arches are designed to resist vertical and lateral loads with additional factors of safety required for Essential Facilities under the Oregon Structural Specialty Code.

    Attached to the apparatus bay, the living quarters are constructed with open web trusses and LVL I-joists at the roof, conventional woodframe walls, and plywood shear walls as the lateral force-resisting system. Siding is reclaimed Douglas fir, treated using an ancient Japanese charring technique called Shou Sugi Ban. After milling, the siding was lightly burned on all sides, creating a hardened, carbonized layer that protects from moisture, decay, insects, and fire. The treated siding requires little-to-no maintenance and also performs well as a rain screen. This 10,120-square-foot, Type V project was completed in 2015 for a construction cost of $3.24 million.

    Wood in Educational Buildings: Our Lady of Montserrat Chapel, Seattle

    Architect — Hennebery Eddy Architects, Inc.
    Structural engineer — Coughlin Porter Lundeen
    General contractor — Sellen Construction

    Located on the campus of a Catholic Jesuit College and Preparatory High School, Our Lady of Montserrat Chapel is comprised of a glulam post-and-beam structure with steel knife-plate connections. A dramatic wood window wall frames the view of a forest canopy and a heavy timber shed roof floats above the chapel, orienting visitors skyward. To pay homage to the Jesuit tradition of building, the design team preferred a simple, warm, and timeless structural solution, making exposed heavy timber a desirable choice.

    However, prescriptive code limitations brought on by the site — which is adjacent to and above an existing building of Type I-B construction — suggested non-combustible materials were required for structural applications. The project team appealed to the City of Seattle and was granted a code modification based on the well documented fire-resistance properties of heavy timber construction. The 1,600-square-foot chapel was completed in 2014 for a construction cost of $1.4 million.

    Beauty of Wood – Innovation: China Pavillion Milan Expo 2015, Milan, Italy

    Architect — Studio Link-Arc, LLC
    Architect — Tsinghua University
    Structural engineer — Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
    General contractor — Bodino Engineering

    Designed as a temporary structure for Expo Milano 2015, the China Pavilion expands on the theme, Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life, with its focus on sustainability and the coexistence of nature and city. Although a variety of materials were considered, the team chose glulam to meet the challenges of the roof structure, including long spans and cantilevers, complex geometry, varying elevations, and exposed framing. Transitioning from sharp angles to soft waves, the roof profile is accomplished with regularly spaced rafters, each with a custom curvature to match the evolving roof geometry. Longitudinal purlins with exterior bamboo sunscreens connect the structure’s sharp-edged rafters on the northern side to the soft waving rafters of the south.

    The architect’s vision of an open interior space was achieved by designing the long-span roof as a structural grid. To ensure the necessary stiffness, custom fixed-end connections were used between the purlins and primary timber rafters, while cable cross bracing within the grid offered additional strength. This 43,000-square-foot project was completed in 2015.

    Beauty of Wood – Craft: Whitetail Woods Regional Park Camper Cabins, Empire Township, Minn.

    Architect — HGA Architects and Engineers
    Structural engineer — HGA Architects and Engineers
    General contractor — Dakota County School District

    Nestled into the hillside of a new regional park, three new camper cabins — built by county employees with the aid of high school students in a vocational training program — weave their way into a stand of pine trees. Built on concrete piers to minimize the impact on the surrounding wilderness, these beautifully detailed cabins hover between 14 and 16 feet above grade with trees almost at arms-reach, creating privacy and intimacy with the natural environment.

    Above the foundation, each structure is comprised of a red cedar glulam chassis, cedar and pine framing, and red cedar cladding. Dark cedar shingles on the exterior blend seamlessly with the beauty of the pine forest, while the interior is stained naturally to create an immersive warm environment.

    For this project, the beauty of wood was complemented by its sustainability, cost efficiency, and ease of construction. The three 307-square-foot cabins were completed in 2014 for a combined construction cost of $225,000.

    Green Building by Nature: Nest We Grow, Taiki- cho, Hiro-gun, Hokkaido, Japan

    Designer — University of California, Berkeley, College
    of Environmental Design Architect of record — Kengo Kuma Architects & Associates
    General contractor — Takahashi Construction Company

    Each year, Japan’s LIXIL JS Foundation holds a university design competition focused on sustainable housing technologies. The 2014 theme was Productive Garden and the winning project, Nest We Grow, has since been constructed at the foundation’s Memu Meadows Farm.

    Described by the WoodWorks jury as an “intelligent structure,” Nest includes a skin of translucent polycarbonate over a glulam frame. The ground floor grid is comprised of nine composite columns, which are notched to receive the beams and girders, and connected with steel plates. Initial analysis called for both vertical and horizontal steel rod cross bracing due to strict building codes for seismic loads. However, the team was able to eliminate the horizontal steel cross bracing by using wood cross bracing in the two upper catwalks.

    In addition to the carbon stored in the wood, the team reduced the carbon footprint of Nest by using locally harvested and manufactured wood products. This 1,577-square-foot project was completed for a construction cost of $250,000.

    Green Building by Design: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon, Bend, Ore.

    Architect — Hacker
    Structural engineer — Walker Structural Engineering
    General contractor — Kirby Nagelhout Construction Co.

    In addition to reflecting the Unitarian principles of inclusiveness, exploration, community, and warmth, meaningful sustainability was a key goal for this wood-frame project. Features include optimal orientation for passive solar heating, radiant floor heating, natural ventilation, onsite stormwater collection, and the use of certified wood products.

    The roof was constructed to hold enough solar panels to make the building net zero energy, and conduits have been installed so panels can be easily added at a later date. The project, which achieved Platinum Certification under the Earth Advantage program, consists of 2x exterior wall framing with a combination of manufactured gang-nail trusses and I-joists spanning to large glulam and steel wide-flange girders.

    Additional photos of the national and regional winning projects are available on the WoodWorks website at www.woodworks.org/project-gallery, along with a wide range of technical and educational resources for design and building professionals.

    Information provided by the Wood Products Council (www.woodworks.org), which provides free, one-on-one project assistance as well as education and resources related to code-compliant design of non-residential and multi-family wood buildings.