Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Canadian Wood Council’s Ontario Wood WORKS! program has recognized nine winning projects advancing the use of wood in all types of construction as part of its Ontario Wood Design Awards program. The projects and the architects, engineers and organizations behind them were celebrated at the 23rd annual Ontario Wood WORKS! Awards Night held in conjunction with the Ontario Forest Industries Association’s 80th annual meeting in Toronto in late April.
“The winning projects shine a light on the role that wood construction can play in addressing some of the larger challenges facing society today, notably housing supply, sustainability, and a shortage of skilled trades.” said Steven Street, executive director of Ontario Wood WORKS!, a national, industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council that provides free technical support to facilitate the use of wood in construction.
In a news release announcing the winners, Street said one of the primary drivers behind wood’s expanded use, along with its beauty, strength and versatility, is the fact that prefabricated wood systems can significantly increase construction efficiency and quality, delivering better buildings faster. He said it’s also clear that wood systems have a critical role to play in reducing emissions to achieve ambitious sustainability targets.
Winning Design Award projects include the Shingwauk Education Trust Anishinawbek Discovery Centre in Sault Ste. Marie where wood was chosen because of its cultural importance to the community. Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (Teaching Lodge) is a combined education, research, and cultural centre that holds classrooms and administrative offices as well as a large student lounge, cafe, art gallery and performing arts space.
The Neil Campbell Rowing Centre in St. Catharines was chosen because it demonstrates how simple, elemental, and respectful design can support a broad spectrum of uses. The building will host the 2024 World Rowing Championships and also provides year-round fitness and rowing training for Canadian athletes. It is designed with an innovative mass timber composite roof structure, referred to by the designers as the timber structural sandwich.
Passive Laneway Housing Prototypes in Toronto are among the winners as the three prototypes are the vanguard of laneway and infill homes, sustainably advancing urban intensification in a location well served by public transit and existing municipal infrastructure.
The prefabricated wood construction reduced negative community impacts of construction, reduced waste, and exceeded carbon neutral and net-zero annual energy objectives.
Another winner, YW Kitchener-Waterloo’s new apartment building is a supportive housing for women development of 41 compact yet accessible 1-bedroom transitional housing units designed for safety, accessibility, and inclusivity. The design uses a narrow building form consisting of prefabricated CLT and glulam structural elements in an arrangement that maximized material efficiency and minimized the installation time.
The Carpenters Union Local 249 Training Facility in Kingston is another winner.
This 25,000 square foot wood paneled building includes training, administration, and social spaces and celebrates the art and craft of the carpenters, showcasing examples of both traditional and modern work throughout the building.