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Architecture Spotlight: 2019 Prairie wood design winners ‘absolutely excellent’

Peter Caulfield
Architecture Spotlight: 2019 Prairie wood design winners ‘absolutely excellent’
SIMEON RUSNAK PHOTOGRAPHY — Recently the 2019 Wood WORKS! Alberta Prairie Wood Design Awards winners were announced. The Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba took home the commercial prize. The project “struck the judges with its whimsical and poetic design.”

Submissions to the 2019 Wood WORKS! Alberta Prairie Wood Design Awards were “absolutely excellent,” said Lubor Trubka, one of the judges in the competition.

“Prairie designers are doing admirable work in advancing the use of wood,” said Trubka, principal in charge and lead design of Lubor Trubka Associates Architects in Vancouver. “They’re certainly catching up with B.C., which started the movement to designing with wood years earlier.”

The awards recognize projects and organizations that advance the use of wood in construction through design excellence, advocacy and innovation.

Although eight architects and their project teams were honoured, it is the architects themselves who receive the trophy, unless otherwise specified by the jury.

Award recipients were presented with a customized wooden trophy that acknowledges their ability to “push the boundaries of wood in construction.”

To be eligible for the Prairie Wood Design Awards, firms can be located anywhere in the world, but projects for consideration must be situated in Alberta, Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

The three-architect awards jury received 34 submissions for the 2019 competition. Seven projects were selected by the jury and an eighth was chosen, on behalf of the industry, by the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA).

The jury selected the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation as Wood Advocate for the Simmons Building revitalization.

The winning architect was McKinley Burkart Architects, with offices in Vancouver and Calgary.

The jury said, “This project was a good example of an adaptive use for a traditional timber frame building. The jury applauds the developer’s dedication to updating an older building, showcasing that these old buildings are still full of potential and life.”

The Residential Award went to Russell and Russell Design Studios, of Canmore, Alta., for the Tall Timbers modern timber frame house.

“The jury enjoyed the thoughtful design approach to this project. The exposed interior wood structure gives warmth to the home and pulls together the space as a whole.”

The Interior Showcase Award was handed out to Gibbs Gage Architects (Calgary) and Diamond Schmitt Architects (Toronto, Vancouver, New York) for the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary.

“The jury appreciated the way this project’s timber elements bring focus to this space. The timber elements are effective in identifying the different functions within the space, giving an ambient warmth and focus to the places intended for people to congregate.”

 

The other award winners are as follows:

 

Commercial Award

AUX: Projects (Winnipeg)

RAW: Wasagaming, a pop-up restaurant in Riding Mountain National Park, western Manitoba.

“This project struck the judges with its whimsical and poetic design. They imagined the delightful surprise people would experience discovering this fairytale-like restaurant in the woods. The project is an example of how you can make something innovative out of simple materials.”

 

Recreational Award

1×1 Architecture Inc. (Winnipeg)

Camp Manitou Outdoor Hockey Facility in Headingley, Man.

“The jury was delighted with this project’s ambitious simplicity. Carefully considered, but simple details made what could be utilitarian into something special. One of the ways the design team achieved this was creating niches into the facade through the use of different finishes.”

 

Institutional Award

GEC Architecture (Calgary).

Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge in Calgary. 

“The design team made an effort to design identical member profiles, utilizing the single detail for around the parameter with the refreshing result of gentle curves softening the space.”

 

Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge in Calgary took home the Intuitional Award. It was designed by GEC Architecture.
ADAM MORK ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY — Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge in Calgary took home the Intuitional Award. It was designed by GEC Architecture.

 

Jury’s Choice

Sturgess Architecture (Calgary).

Montreal House residence in Calgary.

“The jury selected this project as their collective choice for its brave design incorporating the warmth of wood with steel elements. They also appreciated that although the home is very unusual in form it sits very comfortably in the neighbourhood.”

 

Industry Award (chosen by the AFPA)

Gibbs Gage Architects (Calgary), with Pickard Chilton (New Haven, Connecticut).

ATCO headquarters, Calgary.

“The intention of the building coupled with the use of local and sustainable materials shows a dedication from the owners and the design team that deserves the highest recognition. Sourcing local materials and manufacturing create a warm and beautiful space for employees and the surrounding residents.”

 

The Industry Award for the 2019 Wood WORKS! Alberta Prairie Wood Design Awards went to the ATCO Headquarters in Calgary, Alta., designed by Gibbs Gage Architects with Pickard Chilton.
JASON DZIVER PHOTOGRAPHY — The Industry Award for the 2019 Wood WORKS! Alberta Prairie Wood Design Awards went to the ATCO Headquarters in Calgary, Alta., designed by Gibbs Gage Architects with Pickard Chilton.

 

Wood WORKS! Alberta is the host of the Prairie Wood Design Awards.

It is one of the regional programs of the Canadian Wood Council, which advances the use of wood in commercial, industrial and institutional construction.

Wood WORKS! Alberta program director Rory Koska said although there hasn’t been a long-standing wood culture on the prairies, wood is becoming more accepted.

“There are many great architects on the prairies who design with wood,” said Koska.

In Alberta, recent examples of wood design include the Mosaic Centre, the Varscona Theatre renovation and expansion, the Ritchie Market and the new Red Deer College residence.

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