Touch wood: these are the top timber treasures of 2017

A timber structure in the middle of a square in Central London. The structure is shaped like a smile.
The 2017 Wood Awards have just been revealed at a dedicated ceremony in central London. Pictured here, The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects (with Arup), which scooped the Structural Award. 
(Image credit: TBC)

Lovers of all things timber, rejoice; it’s the time of the year for the Wood Awards, the industry’s dedicated annual event that celebrates the very best in craft and design using the trusty material.

Announced tonight at a ceremony held at the Carpenters’ Hall in London, the awards, now in their 46th year, have come to represent excellence in timber design and architecture, with past winners including fine woodworking examples such as the supremely sculptural Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios' Stanbrook Abbey.

This year, the list was equally captivating and competition was fierce. Spanning nine categories, the 2017 worthy winners are: Coastal House, Devon by 6a Architects for the Arnold Laver Gold Award and Best Interiors project; Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre & Museum by Simpson & Brown for Best Commercial & Leisure project; Maggie’s Oldham by dRMM for Best Education & Public Sector project; Hampshire Passivhaus by Ruth Butler Architects for Best Private project; Waterloo City Farm by Fielden Fowles Studio for Best Small Project; The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects for Best Structural project; Time and Texture Installation (‘A Landscape of Objects’) by Eleanor Lakelin for Best Bespoke project; and the Narin Chair by David Irwin for Best Production Made project.

Watch 6a architects discuss the Coastal House project and catch up with all the Wood Award winners 2017

Several nominees from this year’s shortlist, such as the striking Hastings Pier by dRMM, were given a high commendation, while excellence in student work was also celebrated through two cash prizes – one going to Mark Laban for his ‘Rustic Stool 1.0’, and another to Damian Robinson for his ‘Hex Drinks Cabinet’, which was also named the People’s Choice.

From careful renovations, to brand new structures, engineering feats and young talent, the Wood Awards consistently acknowledges and rewards great design, while promoting this truly naturally sustainable material.

A photo of the Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre & Museum with a triangular wooden roof with glass windows and entrance. The building is surrounded by green trees.

Best Commercial & Leisure project: the Rievaulx Abbey Visitor Centre & Museum by Simpson & Brown

(Image credit: TBC)

A spiral staircase in a light coloured timber.

Highly Commended: The Nautilus staircase by Hassan Nourbakhsh (Borheh)

(Image credit: TBC)

Three pillars with unique objects displayed on top.

Best Bespoke project: Time and Texture Installation (‘A Landscape of Objects’) by Eleanor Lakelin

(Image credit: TBC)

A photo of a staircase and beams in the ceiling.

Best Interiors project: Coastal House, Devon by 6a architects

(Image credit: TBC)

A photo of a modern timber building with large glass windows and a red door.

Best Private project: Hampshire Passivhaus by Ruth Batler Architects

(Image credit: TBC)

A photo of a wooden table with four slim table legs and a wooden desk chair.

Best Production Made project: the Narin Chair by David Irwin

(Image credit: TBC)

Best Education & Public Sector project: Maggie’s Oldham by dRMM. Photography: Alex de Rijke

Best Education & Public Sector project: Maggie’s Oldham by dRMM.

(Image credit: Alex de Rijke)

A photo of a school made with dark brown timber. A pathway leading up to the building. The building has three levels and each level has seven box windows.

Best Education & Public Sector project High Commendation: Cowan Court by 6a Architects

(Image credit: TBC)

Highly Commended: Command of the Oceans by Baynes and Mitchell Architects. Photography: Helene Binet

Highly Commended: Command of the Oceans by Baynes and Mitchell Architects.

(Image credit: Helene Binet)

A photo of a library room with twelve iMac computers and students using them. The room has a slanting wood roof and window providing light from either side of the room.

Best Small Project: Waterloo City Farm by Fielden Fowles Studio.

(Image credit: David Grandorge )

A photo of a Belarusian Memorial Chapel at golden hour (in the sunset light).

Highly Commended: The Belarusian Memorial Chapel by Spheron Architects.

(Image credit: Helene Binet)

Hastings Pier

Highly Commended: Hastings Pier by dRMM

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information, visit the Wood Awards website

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).