TORONTO – Architects, engineers, developers and other construction industry professionals at the forefront of wood design in Ontario came together to celebrate excellence in wood design at the 17th annual Ontario Wood Works awards night in Toronto on Nov. 1. The awards program honours people and organizations that, through design excellence, advocacy, and innovation, are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction.

“Wood is an extraordinary building material, as you can see from the projects that received awards tonight,” said Marianne Berube, executive director of the Ontario Wood Works program. “Design professionals who understand the need for sustainable development are specifying wood products for innovative, environmentally responsible construction.”

Ontario Wood Works presented ten awards for specific wood projects and two to professionals for contributions to the building industry that advance the case for wood design and construction.

“Today’s wood products and systems are technologically advanced,” Berube stated. “Project teams are using these high-performance building materials in exciting ways, actively and imaginatively exploring wood’s expanding potential. The awards program gives us an opportunity to showcase what is happening in wood design and construction.”

The winning project for institutional wood design (greater than $10 million) is the McEwen School of Architecture in Sudbury, Ont. The architect for the project is LGA Architectural Partners and the engineer AECOM.

Photo: Bob Gundu

From a construction innovation perspective, McEwen’s new Library Wing is notable for its extensive use of cross-laminated timber (CLT). The Library Wing is clad in BIM-modelled, prefab CLT panels and unitized glazing panels, and is entirely a mass timber construction. According to the architect, one of wood’s great advantages is that it is the only structural building material that, in a cold climate, can move seamlessly between the warm interior and the cold exterior without thermal bridging.

The prefabricated CLT panels that we used on this project also mitigated the northern Ontario construction challenges of a short building season, a small labor pool of skilled local trades, and high transportation costs. Delivered to the site numbered and ready to install, the panels required no additional onsite work. Structure and enclosure were completed in only two weeks.

Another of the 2017 Ontario Wood Works award-winning projects is Story Pod, a community-supported, 64 square foot lending library situated in downtown Newmarket, Ont. The architect for the project is Atelier Kastelic Buffey Inc.

Photo: Shai Gil, Bob Gundu

The wooden pod is located on the edge of a prominent civic square. During the day, two entirely wood clad walls pivot open, encouraging people to come inside or to gather around the front. The interior is clad in warm, marine grade veneer plywood, and contains a full wall of books and various levels of built-in seating. During the winter months, the pod is stored off-site; steel channels recessed into the base accommodate a standard forklift for efficient transportation.

The Mid-Rise Wood Design Award went to Lake House Condominiums in Grimsby, Ont. By building this six-storey condominium with wood, overall construction costs were reduced compared with cast-in-place concrete and the carbon footprint of construction is significantly reduced versus cast-in-place construction, according to the companies involved. The developer for this project is Branthaven Homes; architect Kirkor Architects + Planners, and the engineer Tacoma Engineers Inc.

For this project, wood construction also created opportunities to accelerate the construction schedule by building sub-components such as roof assemblies at ground level and lifting them into place, a method of construction that also reduced safety risks throughout the project.

The Institutional Wood Design Award for projects less than $10 million was presented Yallowega Bélanger Salach Architecture and A2S Associates Limited for their work on St. David Catholic Elementary School in Sudbury, Ont.

Photo: Blaine Nicholls

St. David Catholic Elementary School takes advantage of its serene backdrop within the Canadian Shield, drawing inspiration from its natural landscape. The school is a spirited one storey, wood-frame structure, constructed mainly from large glue laminated timber and standard lumber framing.

Wood Works is a national, industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council that promotes and supports the use of wood in all types of construction.