Special to the GTA Construction Report
A select group of Ontario’s leading architects, engineers, and project teams received Wood Design Awards at the 13th annual Wood WORKS! celebration in Toronto in November. The awards program recognizes people and organizations that, through design excellence, advocacy, and innovation, are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction across the province.
“Wood design in Ontario is experiencing a renaissance,” says Marianne Berube, executive director of the Ontario Wood WORKS! project. “We received 102 nominations this year, the most we’ve received in any given year, which is impressive when you consider that all of these projects have recently been built in Ontario.”
“There are many reasons for the increased use of wood in contemporary architecture,” said Berube. “People understand and appreciate wood’s environmental benefits and, in many applications, designers and developers are also reporting significant time and cost savings. Also, new products and design innovations have expanded opportunities for using wood. Around the world we’re seeing that it is a viable option for all types of construction including midrise buildings, sustainable urban densification, and even tall wood buildings,” the WoodWORKS news release said.
Winning projects this year include Algonquin College’s new Perth Campus, a 107,000 sq. ft. four-storey retirement residence and “a community centre whose appealing wood design is credited with helping contribute to the overwhelming success of the facility and significant growth in recreation and leisure activity in Richmond Hill,” the news release said.
A total of 12 awards were presented at the event. “We are privileged to have this chance to celebrate the people who, through their work with wood, enrich our built environment and lead the way for future excellence and innovation in wood design and building,” said Berube.
2013 Ontario Wood WORKS! award winners:
Sponsored by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Project: The Westhill, Waterloo, ON
Architect: Robert J Dyck Architect & Engineer Inc.
Engineer: Robert J Dyck Architect & Engineer Inc.
The use of structural wood components provided many benefits. To begin with, the cost savings were significant, allowing upgraded architectural features that were not possible with alternate structural framing methods. There were reduced capital costs. There were also reduced site overhead costs, reduced designer construction phase costs, and reduced construction financing costs all due to the reduced construction time. As well, since the schedule had the structural framing occurring over the winter and early spring, there was a significant savings of the winter protection and heating that would have been required for alternate framing methods. The use of wood structural framing which reduced the construction time also allowed earlier occupancy. Wood framing methods also simplified the design and construction of the “landmark” roof feature.
Green Building Wood Design
Sponsored by OWL Distribution
Project: Algonquin College, Perth Campus, Perth, ON
Architect: GRC Architects Inc.
Engineer: Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd.
Algonquin College’s Perth building is a student focused learning facility designed to offer an intimate and friendly setting for learning and hands-on experience. Wood structure, exterior cladding, and interior finishes all contribute to the achievement of a comfortable, easy to maintain, and energy efficient campus building. One of the most noticeable features of the building is its wooden structure. Selected partly for its low embodied energy, the majority of the wood structure was sourced from FSC-certified distributors and retailers, further reducing the environmental impact of the construction. Selective sourcing of the other materials yielded over 17.5% total recycled content. Efforts were also taken to reduce the negative impacts of transporting materials to the site by sourcing over 55% of all building materials (by cost) regionally. These factors contributed to the achievement of LEED gold for this facility.
The entrance to the building is demarcated by a substantial hand-hewn wood column which stands as a sculptural form to prop up the roofline and invite entry. A second entrance is again highlighted with “tree-trunk” columns, simply de-barked to demand acknowledgement of the natural material. In addition to the exposed elements, wood trusses and wood framing were used for all exterior walls, interior partitions, and the roof. The wood siding consists of rough sawn white pine. This siding, together with the wood columns, was milled and supplied from within a few kilometers of the site in Lanark. Cladding the exterior walls and soffits in wood achieves a warm and welcoming aesthetic that integrates well into the local fabric.
Further to the geographical and environmental reasons for using wood, program function informs the incorporation of wood and enhanced environmental practices of this learning facility. The building is comprised of two wings: an academic wing and a construction wing. The academic wing includes state-of-the art classrooms, student amenities and administration offices. The construction wing houses two large workshops and trades laboratories for the specialized programs in heritage carpentry and masonry and for the advanced housing programs that focus on green building construction methods.
Interior Wood Design
Sponsored by Tembec
Project: Lululemon Yorkdale, Toronto, ON
Design Team: Lululemon Athletica, Brothers Dressler, Quadrangle Architects
The Lululemon store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto utilizes 35, 000+ blocks of recycled wood from a myriad of tree species to compose a 23-foot high pixilated image of a fallen leaf. In contrast to the mall’s typical array of conventional glass and stone storefronts, Lululemon distinguishes itself with this public artwork, comprised entirely from reclaimed woods in their 29 natural pigmentations.
Wood was chosen because its warm and welcoming qualities underscore Lululemon’s brand affiliation with yoga, harmony and balance. The maple leaf image and various local wood varieties that compose it help give the store a regionally specific identity. The wood pieces used were remnants from The Brothers Dressler’s furniture workshop and include the staves of a tanning barrel, shipping pallets, a demolished school, submerged wharf beams, as well as off-cuts from countless furniture pieces. The interior of the store showcases other unique and thoughtful applications of wood including a steam bentwood chandelier, a water station made from veneer mill ends of a walnut tree, and a white oak veneer cash desk.
Residential Wood Design
Sponsored by Weyerhaeuser
Project: Kennisis Lake House, Haliburton, ON
Architect: Altius Architecture Inc.
Engineer: CUCCO engineering + design
The clients’ desire for a sculptural form that is highly tuned to the nuances of their site, as well as their specific programmatic needs, was the driving force of the residence’s organic architecture. A rich interaction of interior spaces is achieved through subtle and dramatic level changes, overlook, millwork and screens. The relationship of those interior spaces to exterior living space, views, site topography and solar orientation adds another layer of complexity to the architecture.
The folding, wing-like roofs planes are stretched out over a heavy timber skeleton appearing to hover over the rock, lifted by breezes off the lake. These series of roofs are pinned down to the site by the mass of three natural stone wood burning fireplaces which play against the soaring exposed heavy timber structure to recall the cottage traditions of Ontario. Natural materials and locally sourced products such as granite, heavy timber, cedar shingles and wood siding allow the structure to appear like it has grown out of, and belongs to, the forest and rock that it hovers over. These materials and finishes are also chosen for their renewable and recyclable properties as well as their low-embodied energy to minimize the building’s environmental footprint.
Multi-Unit Wood Design
Architect: Orchard Design Studio Inc. and GB Architect Inc.
Engineer: Strik Baldinelli & Associates Ltd.
Woodland Village Townhomes was a challenging project because of tight timelines and aggressive budgetary goals. In addition to these usual demands, Orchard’s own goal is to produce buildings that are environmentally responsible. Keith Reycraft of Orchard Design Studio said that wood frame construction is always a natural choice for them because it is inherently one of the most environmentally conscious structural systems available. “We have also found that it is extremely economical and efficient to construct. Reliable sourcing and availability ensure that we can meet tight schedules onsite. Wood is a sustainable resource not only in terms of the environment. Because it is a Canadian product we ensure that this investment helps to sustain the Canadian economy. We use wood frame construction in nearly all our buildings of four storeys or less to maximize its use under current height restrictions for combustible construction.”
Institutional- Commercial Wood Design >10 M
Sponsored by Resolute Forest Products
Project: Oak Ridges Community Centre, Richmond Hill, ON
Architect: Perkins+Will Canada
Engineer: Smith + Andersen
Oak Ridges Community Centre houses a variety of recreational activities for the city of Richmond Hill, including: a six lane swimming pool, leisure pool, gymnasium, fitness centre, eco-centre and multi-purpose rooms. Wood, and its seamless flow throughout the design, has helped contribute to the overwhelming success of the facility in creating a new hub for community life and in leveraging significant growth in recreation and leisure with the city.
The design team was inspired to draw upon personal memories of lodges, cabins and cottages to inform the design. These collective memories and rustic palettes became the guiding principle for the structural systems, material selection, lighting and colour of the Centre. Wood construction with stone walls and wood paneling set the overall tone.
Wood plays an important role in achieving the project’s overall sustainability goals and LEED Silver target. A balanced set of initiatives have been employed to maximize conservation of water, energy and resources in the construction and operation of the building. Wood was chosen as the primary building material for its renewability and regional availability. It also holds clear benefits from a life cycle assessment perspective and its ability to sequester carbon as a means of reducing and offsetting harmful CO2 emissions.
Wood was also selected for its clear advantages as both a structural and architectural system. In this respect, wood was central to the overall concept in addressing many of the technical challenges of this building type. In the roof, wood enabled greater freedom allowing the large cantilevered overhangs to be expressed without the associated thermal bridging associated with steel. This created a greater flow of spaces between indoors and outdoors and ultimately a stronger connection between the building and its natural setting.
Institutional- Commercial Wood Design <10 M
Sponsor: Ontario Wood Truss Fabricators Association
Project: Holy Spirit Church, Barrie, ON
Architect: Larkin Architect Ltd.
From entry under the wood canopy through the Vestibule, Narthex, Nave and extending into the Chapel, all of the roof structures are heavy timber. These structures use Douglas Fir glulam beams, solid wood decking and solid wood timbers in different sizes, shapes, profiles and layouts to create a warm and welcoming feel to the spaces. The wood systems helped to meet requirements of the OBC and at the same time provide an atmosphere suited for the intended use. The exposed wood is virtually maintenance free. The use of any other roof system would not have been able to provide the look and feel given to the spaces within the building construction budget.
Northern Ontario Excellence Award
Sponsored by FedNor
Project: Batchewana First Nations Health Facility, Rankin Reserve, ON
Architect: EPOH Inc.
Engineer: STEM Engineering Group Inc.
The Batchewana Health Facility is an important addition to the Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways Community. Its architecture reflects the rich customs and heritage of the Ojibway people. The natural palette incorporates characteristic materials of the area, using earth colours indicative of the culture and location. The use of wood framing and structural timber construction lends the project a hand-built aesthetic that the community can directly relate to.
The traditional longhouse forms the conceptual framework for this project. A large, central atrium is a linear accent for the building, with entries at each end as with a traditional longhouse. The atrium’s structure is formed by a repetition of angled, glue-laminated timber columns and beams. The atrium is the primary circulation space, providing access to the rest of the building. Clerestory glazing brings light into the space and adds natural warmth and richness to the cedar ceiling and wood structure.
The principal wood structure of the building extends to the exterior at both ends. At each entrance the structural members and connections provide architectural character that is strongly evocative of First Nations building forms. Concepts for the exterior cladding were informed by the sapling and woven bark construction of a typical longhouse. Multiple wall constructions and natural materials emphasize the separation of structure and membrane, and hint at the concept of a cedar palisade. The horizontal cedar siding provides the base structure, with alternating projecting forms in clay masonry and cultured stone.
Forestry is a major local industry in Sault Ste. Marie and has been for over a hundred years. The First Nations communities that surround the city, however, trace their history with the forest industry much further back. Their architecture has been intrinsically linked to forest products since its first examples thousands of years ago. The Batchewana First Nations has demonstrated with this building, among many others locally, their ongoing commitment to keeping this tradition alive.
Jury’s Choice Award
Sponsored by Louisiana Pacific
Project: Local Church of the Saints, Toronto, ON
Architect: C. Y. Lee Architect
Engineer: Blackwell Structural Engineers
Wood was used as it was the preferred choice for the areas of the building that are exposed to view. The architect and users were looking for a material that is warm and visually appealing. The roof structure at the sanctuary and canopy are the only areas of the building that have exposed structure and both areas are exposed to view. The sanctuary roof was constructed with glulam arch trusses complete with a series of three dimensional high strength cables. The top cord was glulam and was pre-stressed which kept the size to a minimum The decking consisted of 38 mm thick Douglas fir deck. The wood deck was used to keep the number of trusses to a minimum. The entrance canopy consisted of glulam beams tapered at the cantilevers to help keep the profile thin. The wood deck was 38 mm thick and profiled in a curve in plan along one edge.
Engineer Wood Advocate Award
Sponsored by Nordic Engineered Wood
Engineer Award: David Moses, Moses Structural Engineers Inc.
The Engineer Wood Advocate Award is presented to an individual engineer or engineering firm for the creation of innovative structures of any building type. Wood Advocates use new technologies or existing technology in new ways in order to create wood solutions that advance the use of wood in projects, leading the way for future projects in wood. This year’s winning engineer takes pride in his experience with challenging, innovative designs and looks for opportunities to use his creativity and technical expertise to bring client visions into being. He is at the forefront of mass timber use in Ontario, having engineered the first two commercial CLT projects in the province this past year. He is also revisiting the typical design of a 4-storey walk-up, considering issues including building height, durability and acoustics with fresh eyes in preparation for possible new opportunities in high quality mid-rise multi-unit residential buildings. He has developed a structural system for 4-storeys with an eye for the future growth of the design to 6-storeys so that if the building codes are updated to permit 6-storeys in wood he, and his project partners, are ready.
Architect Wood Advocate Award
Sponsored by Timber Systems
Architect Award: CS&P Architects
The Architect Wood Advocate Award recognizes an individual architect or architectural firm who contributes consistently to the selection of wood in projects, overcomes objections to the use of wood in projects, and leads the way for future projects in wood. This year’s winning firm has used wood as a key structural element in many diverse projects over the years including The Ojibway Club in Pointe au Baril, an award winning, joint-use Secondary School, Sportplex and Theatre in Bracebridge, the Christopher Children’s Centre in Cambridge (winner of a Wood WORKS! award in 2011), and the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, a project that merged old and new by repurposing historic heavy timber glulam beams reclaimed from the original rink and marrying them with cross-laminated timber in the first commercial application of CLT in Ontario.
Wood Champion Award
Sponsored by Natural Resources Canada
Wood Champion Award: Steve Boyd, Quaile Engineering
There are some very special champions in practice who consistently support wood in projects, who continue to overcome objections to building with wood, leading the way for others. This year’s Wood Champion has not only put much effort into providing engineering solutions in wood for projects like the G8 Summit Centre in Huntsville, the Wilmot Recreation Complex in Baden, and the Ontario Pioneer Camp in Port Sydney, but for also provided a lot of support behind the scenes through participation on numerous advisory committees including his service as Vice Chair of CSA O86 Technical Committee and his participation on the technical committee responsible for the publication of the Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction. He was also instrumental in the development of the Wood Design Manual.