Resilience and Adaptability Mark 2024 Wood in Architecture Award Winners

This year, WoodWorks’ Wood in Architecture Awards program celebrates innovative and sustainable wood buildings that adapt and delight in a rapidly changing and warming climate.

This month, Think Wood’s partner organization WoodWorks announced its 2024 Wood in Architecture Award winners, celebrating excellence and innovation in mass timber, heavy timber, light-frame, and hybrid building design. The annual awards program honors developers and design teams who use innovative wood structural systems to benefit the environment, building occupants, and the communities their projects serve across the country. Winning projects are selected by an independent jury of design and building professionals.

The winning projects include an office building with a nearly all-mass-timber frame in a seismic zone; a temporary outdoor structure promoting environmental justice; retail, educational, and institutional structures adapting to a changing climate; and multifamily housing featuring an energy-efficient, Passive House design.

“In schools, offices, and community gathering spaces, this year’s awards exemplify wood’s undeniably positive influence in modern design,” says WoodWorks President and CEO Jennifer Cover. “To the designers whose ingenuity and dedication make innovative wood projects happen—thank you for inspiring others to consider wood solutions, across building types and at any scale.”

Boston, MA

11 E Lenox

This 7-story, 34-unit mass timber multifamily residential project in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood—designed by Monte French Design Studio—supplements its glulam beams and columns with a cross-laminated timber (CLT) panelized structure. An optimized grid and beam-free corridors result in a material-efficient structure while large expanses of CLT ceilings, exposed to each unit’s interior, offer biophilic benefits and cut the cost of adding finishes. By stacking wet spaces, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and toilets, units can run mechanical systems tightly within the structural wood, nearly eliminating the need for dropped ceilings. It’s a configuration that also allowed more glazed openings, drawing an abundance of natural light into every unit. Taking advantage of mass timber’s thermal mass, the project is also designed to meet stringent Passive House standards. The efficient design reduces overall heating and cooling costs and helps to cut operational carbon by over 80 percent compared with a conventional baseline equivalent.

Size: 43,000 square feet
Type: Type IV-C Equivalent Construction
Architect: Monte French Design Studio
Structural Engineer: H+O Structural Engineering
General Contractor: Haycon, Inc.
Developer: Boston Real Estate Collaborative, LLC

Brunswick, ME

Barry Mills Hall and the John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies, Bowdoin College

“This is one of the first buildings in the country to utilize CLT shear walls for a lateral system,” says HGA Associate Vice President and Structural Engineer Lauren Piepho. “There was a lot of research that went into understanding how we could use CLT shear walls.”

Maine-based Bowdoin College is cooling the impacts of carbon emissions with its latest mass timber student hall and Center for Arctic Studies. The student hall includes academic, office, and event spaces, and the Center for Arctic Studies houses offices, classrooms, and a museum with a focus on climate research and education. The two-building complex, designed by HGA, marks the state’s first commercial-scale mass timber projects and features glulam beams and columns supporting CLT floor panels. A unique signature stairway descending into a double height lobby space in the Center for Arctic Studies is also constructed using CLT. To preserve the clean aesthetic and simple beauty of the wood interior, HGA took extra steps to conceal mechanical systems within the mass timber structure. Overall, the wood used in the project represents an embodied carbon savings of more than 75% over a conventional steel structure.

Size: 49,500 square feet
Type: Type V-A Construction
Architect: HGA
Structural Engineer: HGA
General Contractor: Consigli Construction Company, Inc.
Owner: Bowdoin College

Sunnyvale, CA

Google 1265 Borregas

“We chose to work with MGA because they are the foremost leaders and advocates of wood design and building in the world,” says Michelle Kaufmann, architect and head of R+D for the Built Environment at Google. “Their passion for design and the environment is demonstrated in everything they do.”

As Google’s first ground-up mass timber development, 1265 Borregas sets new standards for workplace wellness, structural design, construction techniques, material sourcing and carbon reduction. The project features an innovative system of glulam beams and columns and CLT panels throughout the interior. This ample use of exposed structural wood—as well as an innovative building envelope that filters light through a closed-cavity skin containing climate-controlling wooden blinds between layers of high-performance glass—helps to boost the office project’s biophilic benefits. A collaboration between MGA and SERA, the design includes a dramatic four-story atrium as its central feature and two double-height meeting spaces on the northern half of the building. Fourteen-foot cantilevered CLT floor plates are made possible using an innovative wood-concrete composite system that connects the CLT panels with concrete beams and slabs using glued-in shear connectors. Built in an active earthquake zone, the project meets rigorous seismic requirements with its advanced hybrid design. With 1265 Borregas, Google’s main driver was to create a scalable building solution that centers health and sustainability as it works toward a goal of operating on carbon-free energy by 2030.

Size: 182,500 square feet
Type: Type III-A Construction
Design Architect: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
Architect of Record: SERA
Structural Engineer: Equilibrium Consulting
General Contractor: XL Construction
Owner: Google

Seattle, WA

Founders Hall, Foster School of Business, University of Washington

“We’re seeing a real difference in students emphasizing values and not just compensation packages,” says Frank Hodge, Dean at University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business. “We want our newest building to signal what our values are when it comes to environmentally conscious design.”

Built for the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, Founders Hall reflects the institution’s commitment to cutting harmful emissions, advancing sustainability, and addressing climate change. The five-story hybrid building, designed by LMN Architects and constructed with regionally sourced mass timber, provides a mix of classrooms and flexible gathering spaces for students and faculty, while cutting the facility’s embodied carbon by nearly 60%. Overall, the building’s design makes the most of its exposed mass timber structural system using a unique approach that combines two distinct building types: The mass timber portion of the building—a glulam post-and-beam structure with CLT decking—is Type IV-HT, while the large assembly spaces, constructed using concrete and steel, are Type I-B. It’s the first project in the world to sell carbon offsets realized through sequestered carbon in the mass timber, facilitated by Aureus Earth. As one of the greenest buildings on campus, the LEED-Gold project sets an example for how to use wood to provide measurable benefits for future University of Washington campus buildings.

Size: 84,800 square feet
Type: Type IV-HT and I-B Construction
Architect: LMN Architects
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates; Carla Keel Group PLLC; Autoscan
General Contractor: Hoffman Construction Company
Owner: Foster School of Business, University of Washington

Lake Oswego, OR

Lakeridge Middle School

Natural light, connections to nature, and a nearly all-wood structure featuring a wood shear wall gym and balloon-framed walls make Lakeridge Middle School a warm, welcoming, biophilic teaching environment. Designed by Mahlum Architects, the project features glulam beams and dowel-laminated timber (DLT) panels and prioritizes exposed wood elements throughout. Whole-tree columns, fabricated from hardwood trees harvested from the building site, provide added support to the structure inside and out while literally connecting students with nature. Along with lowering its embodied carbon footprint, the project’s abundant use of thermally optimized wood construction, combined with an energy-efficient building envelope, cuts yearly heating and cooling costs by about $400,000. Built in an active earthquake zone, the school’s design meets stringent seismic requirements and even serves as an emergency shelter for the nearby community.

Size: 141,000 square feet
Type: Type V-B Construction
Architect: Mahlum Architects
Structural Engineer: KPFF
General Contractor: Skanska
Owner: Lake Oswego School District

Washington, D.C.

Retail Village at Sycamore Oak

Mass timber takes center stage in this innovative multi-phased development, with a flexible indoor-outdoor structure built with glulam beams and columns, DLT and nail-laminated timber (NLT) panels, a CLT statement wall, and other wood materials. Built on what once was a blighted urban site in the nation’s capital, the Retail Village at Sycamore & Oak brings together community members, artists, entrepreneurs, and others in an inspiring all-season civic and commercial space that includes local shops, eateries, a gym, performance venue, and public plaza. The innovative development is paired with social enterprise initiatives to support under-represented communities, including business mentorship and chefs-in-residence programs. Temporarily erected on a parcel of city-owned land that will be redeveloped in the coming years, the project was ingeniously designed so that it can eventually be dismantled and reassembled at another location. Future phases envision a town square surrounded by local stores, a mix of affordable senior and workforce housing, an office building, and even a hotel.

Size: 23,000 square feet
Type: Type V-B construction
Design Architect: Adjaye Associates
Architect of Record: Winstanley Architects & Planners
Structural Engineer: StructureCraft
General Contractor: Banneker Ventures
Owner: STE15 LLC, a joint venture of the Emerson Collective and Redbrick LMD

Decorah, IA

Vesterheim Commons

“Because we had this conversation going with a glulam fabricator, we were able to engineer mullions out of glulam sticks,” says Snøhetta Project Leader Chad Carpenter. Wood proved to be the better material, with a lower carbon footprint, a warmer aesthetic, and lower cost than the more conventional metal alternative. “That was a fortunate bonus,” Carpenter adds.

The Oslo- and New York-based design firm Snøhetta taps its Nordic roots in this mass timber and light-frame addition to the Decorah, Iowa-based Vesterheim, the National NorwegianAmerican Museum and Folk Art School. Working in collaboration with BNIM, the design team selected glulam beams and columns as the primary structure of the swooping, cantilevered canopy that wraps the south and west sides of the new building and is intended to invoke traditional Norwegian boats. Light-frame wood construction was chosen over cold-form metal framing for interior partitions to reduce the project’s carbon impact. In the canopy and the first floor storefront columns, which face the southern sun and the brunt of the elements, Alaskan yellow cedar was used for its clean grain and durability. Inside, the exposed interior structure is a mix of Douglas fir and western red cedar. The project prioritized regional sourcing, with the mass timber members fabricated in southern Minnesota and bricks for the exterior walls of the new building coming from locations in Iowa—with neither supplier more than 250 miles away.

Size: 7,600 square feet
Type: Type III-B construction
Design Architect: Snøhetta
Architect of Record: BNIM
Structural Engineer: Fast + Epp; MBJ Engineers
General Contractor: McGough Construction
Owner: Vesterheim

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