The winners of Wood Awards Ireland (WAI) 2020 have been announced. The judging panel chaired by Ciaran O’Connor has selected the overall and six category winners as well as awarding commendations for projects that were deemed worthy of acknowledgment.
WAI 2020 received entries from registered architects, engineers, designers, furniture makers, wood workers, conservationists and third level colleges carrying out postdoctoral research into wood and wood products. This year we also featured a Third Level Student Wood Awards.
The WAI winners were formally announced at a webinar on 26 March 2021.
WAI 2020 Brochure available for download here.
Seventeen shortlisted projects covering large and small-scale buildings, conservation, furniture, wood design and international structures by Irish designers highlighted wood as a versatile medium.
The second wood awards Ireland held on 17 November 2016 in Farmleigh, Dublin “demonstrated that Irish designers are using wood in a way that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago,” claimed Paul Harvey, chairman of the Wood Marketing Federation (WMF) who organised the awards supported by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).
“The range of categories for which the awards were made emphasise the versatility of wood in the various uses,” said Andrew Doyle, Minister of State with responsibility for forestry who presented the awards. “Wood Awards Ireland is more than a competition among individual projects, it also highlights the Irish forestry sector, which has been engaged very successfully in cultivating a renewable and sustainable resource that provides a raw material for our sawmilling and timber processing industry.”
Wood Awards Ireland received over 40 entries which were shortlisted to 17 projects covering large and small-scale buildings, conservation projects, furniture, innovative wood design and international structures by Irish designers.
While there was heavy reliance on imported species, a number of interesting and award winning projects emerged using home-grown wood. For example, Donaghy & Dimond Architects utilised Himalayan cedar growing on the Tibradden estate when building an extension to the estate lodge.
Sitka spruce provided by the Murray Timber Group was the structural timber utilised by the Nós Workshop in building a stage at the Sligo Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann last year.
Sawn Sitka spruce and oriented strandboard – provided by Glennon Brothers and Coillte – were the chosen materials for the project Big Red. Architects Clancy Moore, Taka and Steve Larkin combined to design this major installation at the London Festival of Architecture last year when Ireland was selected as the international country of focus.
Magnus Celestii, by Cork designer Joseph Walsh won the innovation category award for a critically acclaimed installation in the Sculpture Park, Salisbury, England. The free form ash spiral begins as a desk before climbing upwards from floor to ceiling and ending with a large shelf on the side wall of the artist’s gallery. “This extraordinary installation combines vision with ingenuity,” said Ciaran O’Connor, State Architect and chair of the judging panel.
Magnus Celestii, by Cork designer Joseph Walsh won the innovation category award for a critically acclaimed installation in the Sculpture Park, Salisbury, England using fabricated ash.
Two major public buildings tied for the large-scale building category. The Model School, Inchicore, Dublin comprising an extension of six new classrooms, resource rooms, general purpose hall and staff facilities has transformed the space occupies by an over-extended 1853 school. “Wood plays its part with brick in giving a strong sense of place,” said O’Connor. Sweet chestnut, a species with great potential in Ireland, is the main structural wood.
The Samuel Beckett Civic Campus at Ballyogan Road Dublin “uses wood in an integrated and knowledgeable way,” he said. Seven timber species – sawn and engineered – were used in this large complex.
The Model School, Inchicore, Dublin by Donaghy + Dimond Architects
Ryan Connolly a young designer based in Monaghan, won the furniture award for designing and making a suite of desks, chairs and display units in oak and walnut for the OPTICA shop in Dawson Street, Dublin (below). “This shop aims at high end merchandising that is matched by high quality design and execution evident in every aspect from wood selection, jointing and craftsmanship to site installation,” according to the judges’ citation.
The Carmelite Prayer Room in Clarendon Street Priory, Dublin by Niall McLaughlin Architects received a special award for creatively using American ash in remodelling and restoring what is essentially a room within a room. “It is a space that is both powerful and ephemeral, a place in terms of its identity, and wonder, that you will remember,” said Ciaran O’Connor in his citation.
The Carmelite Prayer Room in Clarendon Street Priory, Dublin by Niall McLaughlin Architects received a special award for creatively using American ash in a restoration project.
Three major projects competed for the international category. Two ‘highly commended” awards were presented to the OPW Milan Expo 2015 project and the aforementioned Big Red installation at the London Festival of Architecture.
The category winner was the unique Wind and Rain Bridge in Fujian Province, China (below). This project, led by Donn Holohan, lecturer in Hong Kong University relied on traditional design roots yet combined digital design methodologies with modern technologies, which allowed a rapid and complex bridge assemble to be carried out by unskilled labour with basic hand tools at an economic cost.
The practice Bucholz McEvoy, received the overall award for their magnificent Samuel Beckett Civic Campus in Ballyogan, south Dublin. The judging panel believed that the project “combines and integrates many facets of the art and science of wood design”. Bucholz McEvoy who also won the 2014 award “have developed a vocabulary and repertoire in wood design through the rigorous testing of ideas and empirical observation,” claimed O’Connor. “
Bucholz McEvoy, received the overall award for the Samuel Beckett Civic Campus in Ballyogan, south Dublin.
“The success of the awards depend on the collaboration between the WMF and RIAI , the generosity of sponsors and time given freely by a meticulous judging panel,” said Paul Harvey, WMF chairman. The awards are vital in changing attitudes to wood in Ireland where we have a masonry rather than a wood culture.
Attitudes are changing towards wood claimed Carole Pollard, President, RIAI. “Our human response to wood evolves from our familiarity with it as a natural material,” she said. “We trust wood. Our architects know its technical strengths, that it can be procured from sustainable sources, and that its versatility as a building material is unique.”
The awards were sponsored by COFORD, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the American Hardwood Export Council, Enterprise Ireland and Coillte
The judging panel chaired by Ciaran O’Connor comprised: Dr. Sandra O’Connell, RIAI; Simon O’Driscoll, Simon O’Driscoll Furniture; Des O’Toole, Coillte; Margaret Walsh, Mike Shanahan & Associates; John Winslow, Donnelly Turpin Architects; Neil Kerrigan, Enterprise Ireland; and Sean Harrington, Sean Harrington Architects.
The WMF acknowledges generous funding and sponsorship from:
- COFORD – National Council for Forest Research & Development, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
- AHEC – American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC)
- Enterprise Ireland.
Sculptor Michael Warren (left) discusses his plans to design main award and category winner sculptors the for Wood Awards Ireland with Donal Magner, secretary WMF.
Ciaran O’Connor (left), State Architect and chair of Wood Awards Ireland judging panel with fellow judge Des O’Toole, Coillte.
Wood Awards Ireland is supported
by the following organisations:
Wood Awards Ireland 2014 winners
Ballyogan building wins overall wood award comprising building,
conservation, furniture, international and innovation categories
The Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council operations centre in Ballyogan, Co. Dublin is the overall winner of Wood Awards Ireland (WAI). The awards were presented by Tom Hayes, Minister of State with responsibility for forestry who praised the overall and category winners for using timber sourced in Irish and international sustainably managed forests. WAI was organised by the Wood Marketing Federation and supported by the RIAI.
The project was sponsored by COFORD (National Council for Forest Research & Development), Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, AHEC (American Hardwood Export Council), Coillte, and Enterprise Ireland. Overall and category winners received specially commissioned awards created in yew and elm by the award winning sculptor Michael Warren, Honorary Member, RIAI.
The WAI jury arrived at a shortlist of 18 projects from 64 entrants in the following categories:
- Large-scale public buildings
- Small-scale private buildings
Large-sale building – Ballyogan
Three buildings were shortlisted in the large-scale public building category. These were Ballyroan Library, Airfield Evolution and the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. (DLRCC) Maintenance Centre.
The Award went to the DLRCC building which also won the overall award. “The 3,700m2 office building uses timber in a holistic way exploiting its versatility for a variety of end uses from structure to windows to achieve its environmental design goals,” said Ciaran O’Connor, chair of the WAI jury and State Architect. “ This is the work of an innovative and knowledgeable designer in whose hands wood finds its full expression,” he said. “This is essence over image.” European larch, Scots pine and Norway spruce were the main timbers used.
Small-scale building – Double House
A 400-square metre house in the Dublin Mountains and an extension to an old farmhouse entitle ‘Old House New House’ near Loughrea, Co. Galway were frontrunners in the small building category. ‘Meath House’ near Drogheda using American ash interior and Siberian larch external cladding impressed the judges, as did a small extension to semidetached house in Dublin using Douglas fir. ‘Cottage Cubed’ a conversion of a derelict fisherman’s cottage in Bray using birch plywood made the most out of a small space.
The award went to the Clancy Moore designed ‘Double House’ built in a disused quarry in a conifer plantation in the Dublin Mountains. “The site had been skilfully and respectfully altered to make a unique setting for a special building”, said O’Connor.
Conservation – Dublin Dental Hospital
There were contrasting entries in the ‘Restoration and Conservation’ category, including a major conservation project in the Dublin Dental Hospital, refurbishment of a Georgian house and the restoration of the waterwheel in Kilbeggan Distillery.
In their ‘Wainscoted’ project, Lawrence and Long Architects sensitively restored the Georgian building. The developed the idea of traditional wainscoting, walls using 2.2 metre high European white oak panelling to provide four apartments within the Listed Building..
Sheehan’s Sawmills combined with the Industrial Archaeologist, Dr Fred Hammond & Athy Foundry to bring the waterwheel back to its former glory in the Westmeath village. The sawmill used homegrown European larch and oak for the floats on the waterwheel and the sluice gate.
The conservation category award was won by McCullough Mulvin Architects for their restoration project in the Dublin Dental Hospital. The architects combined American white oak with existing pine floorboards in five protected buildings in the Trinity College complex.
In his citation, the State Architects said: “Creativity and respect combine with site specific inventive thought and different levels of intervention and restoration to such a degree that the new whole is more than just the sum of its historic past.”
Dublin Dental Hospital – winner WAI restoration award
Furniture – Dell Building
In the ‘Furniture’ category, a clever machined birch plywood bookcase entitled ‘8 by 4’ caught the eye of the judges. Designed by Eamon Peregrine and Tom Maher, the pieces can be slot jointed together without the use of fixings.
The award went to “Tree” which was installed in the Dell offices in Mahon Point, Cork. The magnificent structure oscillates between a piece of furniture and an artwork installation. “Some 400 separate yet interconnected elements of white oak climb 15 metres in a four storey atrium,” claimed O’Connor. “This is a timber installation of great technical skill and bravado.”
Tree. This structure spans four floors of an atrium with a total overall height of approximately 15m. Best described as a ‘tree’, it comprises over 400 separate and individually unique timber elements in American white oak veneer on an MDF core, with solid oak edging all around.
Innovation – Mater Hospital
The three front-runners for the innovation award were: Contemplation Space’, ‘Pallet Open Air’ and ‘Garden of Plenty’.
‘Contemplation Space’ located in the foyer in the new Mater Hospital, Dublin won the award. It was designed by Garvan de Bruir, Laura Magahy and Michael Goan with John Sisk Training and Education Centre providing the structural work. It used American ash to provide a unique resting and meditation space in the busy hospital foyer.
Contemplation Space. The space was conceived as a free-standing sculptural form inserted into the main foyer of the new Mater Adult Hospital Development. It provides a retreat for reflection away from the busy processes and interactions associated with the functioning of a large hospital.
International – Vessel, Venice Biennale
The ‘International Award’ was narrowed down to two exhibitions, which attracted huge attention at the Venice Biennale. John Mc Laughlin Architects and Gary A. Boyd created a demountable pavilion to house and frame an exhibition of Irish modern architecture spanning a century at the 2014 Biennale. Glulam spruce was the main structural material.
The international award went to ‘Vessel’.by O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects. This wood-stack temporary structure was designed and built as a special installation for the international exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2012 and it is planned to erect it in Ireland.
The structure was meticulously assembled from 5,250 pre-sawn lengths of Sitka spruce sourced in Coillte’s forests and sawn by Glennon Brothers. Gen Joinery in Longford carried out the detailing. “This soaring installation is for the imagination – it is large yet incremental in scale,” said O’Connor.
Vessel. Vessel with its 9-m high sculptural light funnel rising from a 4m x 4m floor plan was a pivotal element at the Venice Biennale and was seen by 178,000 visitors.
Timber for all projects was sourced in forests throughout the world from Ireland to the US and from Europe to New Zealand. The only stipulation was that all timber had to be sourced from sustainably managed forests and in accordance with the EU Timber Regulation, which counters the trade in globally illegally harvested timber.