Page N1.1 . 10 September 2003                     
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    Wood Design Awards 2003

    by ArchitectureWeek

    As unsustainable logging practices have depleted forests worldwide, and industrialized structural systems have developed, heavy-timber structures have largely disappeared from the vocabulary of contemporary architecture. But this hasn't dampened the appeal of wood as a building material. Instead, it has changed the way we design with wood and focused architectural commentary on factors like economy of use and elegance in spare detailing.

    These were the themes emerging from the recent Wood Design Awards program sponsored annually by publishers of the Canadian magazines Wood Design & Building and Wood Le Bois. This program recently spotlighted 13 North American projects deemed exemplary in architectural design and building craft.

    One of the two honor awards went to the Minneapolis Rowing Club, designed by Vincent James Associates Architects and built by Flannery Construction. The 8,500 square-foot (790-square-meter) building sits on a narrow site above the flood plain of the Mississippi River, its form inspired by the rhythm of an oar moving through water.

    Bands of polycarbonate-glazed clerestory above the windowless ground floor expand to story height at the upturned corners of the roof. Internally, the exposed glulam structure has a skeletal quality, and the incremental rotation of the glulam and steel cable trusses along the length of the building produces a flowing, wave-like roof. The jury commended the building's inventiveness, simplicity, "joyful economy of means ... and wonderful quality of space and light."   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The Minneapolis Rowing Club, by Vincent James Associates Architects, received an honor award from the 2003 Wood Design Awards program.
    Photo: Mary Ludington

    ArchWeek Image

    The award-winning Maison Goulet in Quebec, designed by Saia Barbarese Topouzanov, has an interior lined with sheets of Douglas fir plywood.
    Photo: Frédéric Saia and Marc Cramer


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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