The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Great Designs in Wood (20) - The UK Wood Awards

"The Wood Awards is the UK’s premier architecture and furniture competition celebrating excellence in design in the world’s most sustainable material. Now in its ninth year, the Wood Awards is the most respected award for building and design in wood."

Far Moor Bridge, North Yorkshire, UK. Built of Scottish larch. Photo by Peter  Lambert.

The 2011 winning entries were impressive, I thought, by their simplicity, use of engineered wood products and local species, and the general sense of "normalcy" that is not usually associated with great designs in wood. In other words, wood designs tend to stick out precisely because they are wood. In this year's competition, though, I thought the powerful and important message conveyed is that wood designs don't have to be overwhelming to demonstrate wood's unique ability to convey natural, organic beauty with utilitarian function.

This site at sustainmagazine.com has some nice photos of the winning entries, along with judges' comments of each. Interesting perspectives that are, I think, helpful to architects considering using wood in their creations.

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