Even a global health crisis didn’t stand in the way of the annual Wood Awards, which was one of the few design competitions to go ahead in 2020. The independent panels of judges always visits all the shortlisted projects in person and while this time the process had to be adapted, they still managed to see each project.

The Rye Apartments in London won the top honour, winning the Gold Award and the Private category.

The design of this development of 10 sustainable apartments was driven by two key considerations; how to resist standardised or default positions within housing design, and how to minimise the materials, embodied carbon and cost.

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) supplied by Stora Enso was used for the superstructure and all the internal walls and staircases. The CLT is exposed throughout, creating large, light-filled spaces and a comforting atmosphere. These volumes are detailed with white-washed ash floors. Delicate spruce strips form dropped ceilings in the hallways and bathrooms. Kitchens cabinets are made from CNC grooved three-layer spruce ply boards and the worktops are made from recycled paper.

The CLT sub-contractor was Eurban and the three-layer board supplier was Binderholz. British oak is to the fore in the winner of the Commercial & Leisure category. Frindsbury Manor Barn is a Grade 1 listed barn, originally built in 1403 and damaged by fire in 2003.

A third of the barn was re-built using 1,400ft3 of locally sourced green oak, supplied by Dolmen Conservation Ltd, which was also the main contractor and joinery supplier.

The winner of the Education & Public Sector category was the swimming pool hall at King’s College School in Wimbledon. Here curved glulam beams support CLT roof panels with integral timber acoustic linings.

The species used were spruce, pine, fir and European larch and the wood was supplied by Metsä Group. The joinery was by Suffolk and Essex Joinery and the timber contractor was B&K Structures.

Ash and birch were the species of choice for Brockeridge Stair, which won the Interiors category. This prototype staircase is part of a UK government-funded R&D project to enable digital fabrication directly from BIM modelling environments.

Hanson Plywood supplied the wood, while the joinery company was Silverthorne Joinery & Carpentry. The staircase and joinery design was by Future Joinery Systems.

Ash features in the Small Project category winning project, along with Accoya. The Wooden Roof is a conservatory built for an existing Grade 2 listed house. One solid piece of wood, enclosed by four seasons glazing units, forms the entire structure and acts as the building’s envelope, structure, insulation and cladding.

The Structural award winner was the National Automotive Innovation Centre, the walls of which were assembled using a pioneering system of prefabricated, self-spanning timber and CLT mega-panels that could be erected quickly. As one of the largest timber roofs in the world, the glulam CLT lattice structure unifies the many activities housed beneath a single umbrella. Primary and secondary joists are arranged on a diagrid, spanning onto supporting beams on a 15m grid.

Spruce glulam was in the mix along with the CLT and the wood suppliers were Rubner Holzbau, Ober-Grafendorf and Binderholz.

The timber engineer was engenuiti and the joinery was by B&K Structures.

The judges chose two winners to share the Bespoke Furniture award.

Duo, designed by Studio Woodgate and made by Benchmark Furniture was created for the Royal Opera House as part of the American Hardwood Export Council’s (AHEC) ‘Legacy’ project for the 2019 London Design Festival. It features American red oak, which was supplied by Morgan Timber.

Morgan Timber also supplied American red oak to the other winner – The Beehave, designed by Studio Marlene Huissoud and, again made by Benchmark Furniture. The piece was also part of the Legacy project and was designed for the Science Museum.

The Production Furniture winner was Tenon Table, designed by Daniel Schofield and made by L Ercolani using ash and Italian oak.