This year's Wood Awards winners announced

The winners of the 45th annual Wood Awards were announced at a ceremony held last month at Carpenters’ Hall in London.


Arnold Laver Gold Award & Structural Award

The Arnold Laver Gold Award is the winner of winners. Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building by Foster + Partners, has been awarded this prestigious title (as well as winning the Structural Award). The voting for Maggie’s was unanimous with the judges commenting that the remarkable structure “has brought together the best in engineering, fabrication and architecture”.

The Structural Award was chosen from all of the buildings shortlisted in each category. Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Building was awarded the Structural Award as it demonstrates that a simple, coherent structural diagram, when beautifully and carefully developed and detailed, can result in a solution of considerable merit.

Maggie’s Centres provide a welcoming ‘home away from home’ – a place of refuge where people affected by cancer can find emotional and practical support. The design of the Manchester centre establishes a domestic atmosphere in a garden setting with a greenhouse and a veranda.

The centre accommodates a range of spaces from intimate private niches to a library. Naturally illuminated by triangular roof lights, the building is supported by lightweight timber lattice beams. The beams act as partitions between different internal areas, visually dissolving the architecture into the gardens. The timber beams are designed as trusses that reflect the magnitude and orientation of the loads acting on them, anything superfluous to the structural support has been removed.

Location: Manchester
Architect: Foster + Partners
Client/Owner: Maggie’s
Structural Engineer: Foster + Partners
Main Contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine
Specialist Contractor: Blumer Lehmann/SJB Engineers
Landscape Consultant: Dan Pearson Studio
Wood Supplier: Metsa Wood
Wood Species: Nordic Spruce
Photography Credit: Nigel Young

Commercial & Leisure

The judges chose Stihl Treetop Walkway as the Commercial & Leisure winner as it has the ability to inspire all generations to learn more about wood. The Grade I Listed Westonbirt Arboretum is home to one of the finest tree collections in the world. The Stihl Treetop Walkway provides views over this landscape, in particular the ancient woodlands of Silk Wood and across The Downs. At almost 300m, it is the longest structure of its kind in the UK. The walkway bridges across a valley, allowing for ease of access at ground level without any stairs or lifts.

While walking along the structure, the valley falls away beneath and the walkway rises to over 13.5m above the forest floor. The route snakes above and through the tree canopy supported by scissoring timber legs spaced at 10.5m intervals. At four points along the route it widens from 1.9 to 3.7m, providing spaces for pause and reflection. The walkway is a hybrid timber and steel structure. Larch was selected as the principal material given its durability and attractive colour. Scottish larch was selected for the decking and handrail while the columns are Siberian larch as it offers a tighter grain and higher strength-to-weight ratio.

Location: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire
Architect: Glenn Howells Architects
Client/Owner: Forestry Commission
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Main Contractor: Speller Metcalfe
Joinery Company: S H Structures
Wood Supplier: CTS Bridges (handrail), Ventis & Brasker Masten (column shipwrights), Russwood (decking)
Wood Species: Scottish and Siberian Larch
Photography Credit: Rob Parrish

Education & Public Sector

The judges selected Stanbrook Abbey as the Education & Public Sector category winner as it is spiritually uplifting and sculptural within the landscape. The detailing on the furniture pieces in the church is superb.

Stanbrook Abbey is a new home for the Conventus of Our Lady of Consolation, a Benedictine community of nuns who devote their lives to study, work and prayer. The nuns’ contemplative way of life required spaces that were simple, tranquil and beautiful.

The new church derives its plan from two intersecting axes significant in the liturgy of the church, its organic form rose out of the modest orthogonal domestic architecture of the abbey. Its interior celebrates the diurnal changes in daylight and takes advantage of the dramatic views. Delivered within a modest budget of £7.5m and completed over two phases, the new spaces include private cells, a refectory and associated kitchen, work rooms, a meeting place for before/after chapel services, guest spaces and a community church and chapel. Preference was given to renewable, recycled or low-energy materials.

Location: Wass, Yorkshire
Architect: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Client/Owner: Conventus of our Lady of Consolation, Stanbrook Abbey
Structural Engineer: Structures One, Buro Happold
Main Contractor: William Birch Construction, QSP Construction
Joinery Company: QSP Construction
Organ Builder: Jennings Organs
Choir Stall Manufacturer: Ooma Design
Wood Supplier: James Burrell, Vastern Timber Company
Wood Species: German Oak, Scottish Spruce, Douglas Fir, British Sycamore


The Portledge Rear Staircase was announced as the Interiors winner. The judges said: “This is an almost faultless piece of work, a surprising intervention in the historic context that works extremely well.”

The new rear staircase is designed as a distinct contemporary insertion into the old Medieval service wing of Portledge House, a Grade II* Listed manor house in north Devon. The stair replaces a damaged multi-phase service stair and forms part of a re-ordering of the house. The staircase blends with the wall paneling to create a homogeneous design using English oak chevrons between darker walnut fins.

On the staircase, the walnut fins form spindles topped with a leather handrail. The spindles are cut with arcs of varying sizes to create an organic flow. CNC machining was used prior to the staircase being assembled by hand using traditional joinery techniques. Its design as a bespoke sculptural piece was instrumental in its approval by Historic England and the local conservation officer.

Location: Bideford, Devon
Architect: Witcher Crawford Architects and Designers
Joinery Company: Warren Hughes Furniture
Wood Species: German Walnut, English Oak


Contour House was chosen as the Private winner. The judges said: “The workmanship displayed is quite exceptional. The project is extremely ambitious and has been realised very successfully. It has been delivered with conviction.”

Sanei Hopkins was commissioned to design an open, light replacement house using high-quality traditional materials. Removing the existing house and associated landscaping allowed the ‘contours’ of the original meadow site to be reinstated.

A combination of American white oak, European oak and some stainless steel has been used for the superstructure. Flitched feature trusses support the roof over the swimming pool and master bedroom with stainless steel ties and rod fixings. The house has been designed with sustainability at its core, maximises carbon storage whilst minimising carbon emissions and energy consumption. It utilises both local and renewable materials as much as possible.

Location: Peak District
Architect: Sanei Hopkins Architects
Structural Engineer: Elliott Wood Partnership LLP
Main Contractor/Builder: Constructional Timber
Timber Flooring: Admonter UK
Timber Stair: Boss Stair
Timber Doors: Longden Doors
Wood Species: American White Oak, European Oak

Existing Building Award

After discontinuing the Existing Buildings category in 2015, the judges felt that the repair and adaptive reuse projects were so strong this year that they decided to reinstate it as an award. The award has been given to Ansty Plum for the sensitivity shown to the existing architecture.

Ansty Plum, a mid-century house designed by David Levitt and wood-lined stone studio designed by Alison and Peter Smithson, has undergone a retrofit and studio extension. The buildings are situated on a steep wooded hillside overlooking a collection of 12th century buildings. The house has a simple open plan with a singular plane rectangular roof following the gradient of the land. The studio, hedged into the slope, peeps onto an ancient wooded track.

Location: Wiltshire
Architect: Coppin Dockray
Structural Engineer: Tall Engineering
Main Contractor/Builder: J & C Symonds
Joinery Company: Westside Design
Wood Supplier: Meyer Timber, SMS Veneering Services, Oscar Windebanks
Wood Species: Douglas Fir, Birch
Photography: Brotherton Lock

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