The use of timber in prestigious architectural projects was a cause for celebration in London’s historic Carpenters’ Hall which, on October 19, once again played host to the Wood Awards.

The Gold Award, and the Commercial and Public Access Award went to the Norwich Cathedral Visitors’ Centre, designed by Hopkins Architects and built by main contractor RG Carter. The structural engineer was Buro Happold, which was also involved in the construction of last year’s Gold Award winner, the Weald & Downland Museum Gridshell. Giles Downes, chairman of the judges, said the Award was a unanimous decision and that the Visitors’ Centre was “a wonderful celebration combining old and new materials – a true gem”. The project was also praised for its “extremely high quality design” and for being “very intelligently situated and organised”.

Other winners were Wakelins in the Private category, Kingsdale School Auditorium in the Structural category, the Southwest Quarter, Ightham Mote in the Conservation/Restoration category and The Flame Feature Stair in the Small Project category.

This year’s Innovation award, which is awarded at the judges’ discretion, went to Gordon Cowley for his “continuing pioneering work in realising and promo-ting the potential of timber as an innovative structural element”. Mr Cowley was involved in three of the shortlisted projects for this year’s Awards, including Kingsdale School Auditorium.

This year’s Awards attracted a record 232 entries which were whittled down to a shortlist of 25. In presenting the winners and runners-up with their Awards, Michael Dickson, chairman of Buro Happold and director of TRADA, remarked that the judges’ task had been “extraordinarily difficult” due to the “tremendous exposition of quality which is extremely stimulating”.