Bradley Fehr

March 18th, 2013

Original Source: Journal of Commerce

The best designed wood projects in B.C. were recently honoured at an awards gala in Vancouver, B.C.

“We are truly amazed by both the structural and architectural uses of wood; we are seeing innovation beyond anything we could have imagined a decade ago,” said Mary Tracey, the executive director for Wood WORKS! BC, which hosted the event.

The 9th Annual B.C. Wood Design Awards aims to recognize excellence in wood-based projects and to recognize the people and organizations pioneering and achieving this objective.

“We’ve really seen an increase in the quality of the nominations,” Tracey said.

“It’s amazing how much it’s grown.”

There were 98 nominations in 12 categories for the 2013 awards.

The Wood Champion Award went to Vancouver-based Equilibrium Consulting, whose principals are Eric Karsh and Robert Malczyk.

They’ve worked on such projects as the North Vancouver Civic Centre Renovation and Prince George Airport.

“It’s a great honour,” said Karsh. “We’ve always enjoyed innovating with wood. It’s something that we’re passionate about.’”

Karsh was also the recipient of the Engineer Award, which honours his commercial, residential and institutional projects that were described as providing innovative, sustainable structural solutions.

“It (wood) is certainly taking its place among state of the art materials,” he said.

His showcase project, City of North Vancouver Civic Centre Renovation, was deemed to demonstrate a highly-innovative use of wood and the jury appreciated his ability to push the envelope on the design.

“For many years, this engineer has chosen not to take the easy route, and has encouraged and supported advances in wood design,” stated his nomination.

Karsh is the engineer of record for numerous projects, including the Earth Sciences Building at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Raleigh Durham Airport.

He co-authored the Tall Wood report with B.C. architect Michael Green, a principal at Michael Green Architecture.

The Wood Design Awards were also a big night for architectural firm Perkins + Will.

The Wood Innovation award went to the firm’s Peter Busby and Jim Huffman for the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver. The project features extensive use of wood products, including a complex panelized roof structure.

The UBC Earth Sciences Building was a winner at the 9th Annual Wood Design Awards.

With wood as the primary building material, the wood sequestered enough carbon for the project to achieve carbon neutrality.

The visitor centre was the first building in Canada to register for the Living Building Challenge.

The Green Building Award also went to Busby for his work on the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at UBC.

The jury noted that the elegant and extensive use of wood resulted in an impressive sustainable building.

The Institutional Wood Design – Large Award went to Jana Foit with Perkins + Will for the Earth Sciences Building at UBC.

“It means a lot that people recognize the innovation and the effort that goes into these projects,” Foit said.

She added that the project included six innovative structural features, including floor assemblies, connectors in the building and the cantilevered stairway in the atrium.

Cross laminated timber, often referred to as CLT, was used in the project.

Kimberley Smith and Bo Helliwell of Helliwell + Smith Blue Sky Architecture were the recipients of the Architect Award.

The West Vancouver-based architect’s designs include residential, multi-family and commercial projects.

They continue to experiment with exposed timber frame structures and new wood products, as well as traditional wood products.

Smith also earned the Residential Wood Design Award for Solar Crest on Sidney Island, B.C.

Project-based awards were also handed out at the gala at Vancouver Convention Centre.

The Institutional Wood Design – Small Award went to Graham D. Fligg with Merrick Architecture – Borowski Sakumoto Fligg Ltd. for the Klahoose First Nation New Relationship Centre, Cortes Island, B.C.

The Multi-Unit Residential Wood Design Award went to Oliver Lang with LWPAC Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture for the Monad in Vancouver.

Pam Chilton with Zimba Design earned the Western Red Cedar Award for the Urban Longhouse in North Vancouver.

McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd. won the commercial design award for the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility in Vancouver.

The Interior Beauty Design went to Andreas Kaminski from aka architecture + design inc. for Queen of Peace Monastery in Squamish Valley, B.C.

For the first time ever, honourable mentions were presented for two projects.

The Kinsol Trestle Rehabilitation Project in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island earned an honourable mention for Gord Macdonald from Macdonald & Lawrence Timber Frame Ltd.

The trestle is one of the largest wood structures in the world.

Another honourable mention went to Keith Starling with Take To Heart for work on Pallas Residence in Revelstoke, B.C.

“Wood Works! BC congratulates both nominees and winners for their achievements and we thank them for enthralling and inspiring us with their distinguished projects,” said Tracey.

Wood Works! BC is a project of the Canadian Wood Council. It provides education, training and technical expertise to building and design professionals involved with commercial, institutional and industrial construction projects throughout B.C.