In this section

Timber Design Awards

2018 Timber Design Awards finalists announced!

For information about the Gala Awards Dinner for 2018:  Click here

Entries confirm wood’s exciting future

The 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards are in “fantastic” heart given the high quality and numbers of entries received, says WPMA’s Promotion Manager Debbie Fergie.

Entries are proving that projects from one end of the country to the other, for private citizens to government departments are all using timber in innovative and interesting ways, she says. “This goes to show just how well architects, engineers and their clients are embracing the possibilities presented by timber, especially engineered timber. It’s an industry whose time has really come!”

The varied entries prove the structural challenges of building in engineered wood are being solved in new and interesting ways. Timber’s light weight and structural integrity have been ideal for use in the Christchurch rebuild and previous awards have reflected this. But now, designers have increasing confidence and are working with other industry partners to produce beautiful structures across the country that can withstand extreme winds or seismic events, says WPMA’s Technical Manager Jeff Parker.

“Our new or revised categories this year have delivered lots of interesting entries, with a higher demonstrated level of sophistication,” Debbie explains. The ten categories include residential and commercial architectural and engineering innovation as well as a new multi-storey category and a revised wood and fibre creativity award. The student design category has delivered more exciting proposals than ever and the future “must be in good heart” she believes. “It’s going to be an especially hard job for our judges this year!”

Timber’s natural look and feel is being specified more and more. As one 2017 winner said, “Our experience has provided so many good design and financial arguments for using timber in new and exciting ways, that it’s front of mind for almost every project of ours now.”

To view the Stage Two entries finalists: Click here

For more information call Debbie on 021-807 002, or email her at

Thank you to our 2018 Sponsors:

About the awards

Winners announced for NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards 2018

Design professionals were honoured for their creativity and ingenuity at a gala event in Auckland on September 20. Entries in the 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards demonstrated new and different ways to use timber that nevertheless meet all building codes and criteria as well as being beautiful.

“In a market crowded with grand designs and wonderful claims for every construction material, New Zealand timber is proving just how versatile and cost effective it is,” said Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie. “These Awards have again proved how imaginative design and structural integrity can combine to deliver beautiful timber buildings.”

Judges agreed. “All entries demonstrate a love of expressing timber in its many different applications,” they said. “The real stand-outs were those that went a step further, displaying a mature professional approach, an evocative sophisticated outcome, or a surprising twist.”

Entrants competed within ten categories covering everything from residential and commercial architectural excellence to engineering innovation, multi-storey construction and student innovation.

Structural performance and aesthetic excellence were highlighted across all categories.

The iconic He Tohu Document Centre within the National Library won yet another prestigious accolade, taking out the Resene Supreme Award. “This is the perfect vessel to display the founding documents of Aotearoa,” said the judges. “Highly developed manufacturing technologies are woven together with traditional timber materials, showcasing how timber can deliver technological, social and cultural value in a beautiful way.” This entry also won the Niagara Timber Products’ Interior Innovation category.

Runner up was Cymon Allfrey’s Family Bach in Hanmer Springs. “An interesting redefining of the family bach as a series of separate yet interrelated buildings with shared common spaces,” commented judges. “A building where architecture hero’s wood, and wood has hero’d architecture.” This entry also won the CHH Woodproducts; Futurebuild’ Residential Architectural Excellence Award.

Coll Architecture’s Madras Street house was commended in this category. Judges recognised that sustainability and carbon footprint were driving factors in the selection of timber, with prefabricated elements enabling an efficient, cost effective build.

TimberLab Solutions’ Commercial Architectural Excellence Award went to Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana. “This stunning building is highly spiritual, carefully considered, and ultimately connected to its site – it is exceptional architecture of place,” said judges. It also won the Wood and Fibre Creativity Award, sponsored by Scion Research.

The XLam NZ Multi-Storey Timber Building Award is a new category, requiring entrants to submit projects at least three stories high. This was won by Te Pa Tauira-Otago Polytechnic Student Village in Dunedin. It was the first five-storey all-timber building in the country, with judges pointing out that the highly efficient modular layout enabled efficient offsite prefabrication which significantly reduced construction time, minimised waste and reduced cost. They also believed this building will help to positively shape the attitude of a new generation towards timber.

Commended in this category was the three-storey Ara Kahukura, designed as much as a living example of sustainable design as to provide teaching spaces. The building is an excellent testimony to the potential for hybrid timber-steel-concrete structures, said judges.

Keynote speaker at the Awards was Dr Helen Anderson, QSO.  Helen has a PhD in seismology from the University of Cambridge and 16 years of active research experience as a seismologist. She has both a professional and personal commitment to designing and building for the future, especially concerning the resilience of buildings in disasters, and how we manage risk from our heritage buildings. Currently she is chair of the Building Research Association (BRANZ), Scion Research, MBIE’s Building Advisory Panel, and a Director of five other major organisations.

Judges were universally delighted with the standard of entries.

“The 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards showcase some of the best examples of innovation in timber design that New Zealand has to offer,” they said. “It’s evident there is great collaboration between architects, engineers, suppliers, fabricators and builders to produce some outstanding and highly innovative timber buildings and structures.”

“The remarkable achievements of all contestants show how wood is the perfect material to deliver more sustainable and resilient buildings,” they added. “It’s fantastic to see the growing use of local products such as CLT, glulam and LVL in a broader range of applications with some stunning results.”

The four judges included Pamela Bell M.Arch., Founder and Chief Executive of Prefab NZ who brings experience in architecture, Olympic-level sport, small business development, governance and management to the group.  David Caradine Ph.D, is a Structural Engineer at BRANZ and President-Elect of the NZ Timber Design Society. Tim Melville B.Arch, FNZIA is a Principal with Warren and Mahoney and President-Elect of the NZ Institute of Architects, and Andrea Stocchero, M.Sc in Architecture from the Università IUAV di Venezia (Italy) is Scion’s Sustainable Architect.

it an ideal structural material beyond its natural aesthetic – which owners often want displayed.

The Resene Supreme Award went to Cathedral Grammar Junior School in Christchurch, submitted by Ruamoko Solutions with Andrew Barrie Lab, Tezuka Architects, Ohno Japan and Contract Construction.

“Cathedral Grammar stands out as an example of what can be achieved with effective collaboration and innovation in timber design, fabrication and construction,” said judges. “The expression of the structural timber frames at a human scale is inviting, and promotes a tactile response from young occupants.” This entry also won TimberLab Solutions Ltd’s Commercial Architectural Excellence section and was highly commended in the XLam NZ/Nelson Pine Industries’ Engineering Innovation category. “Outstanding BIM modelling and CNC machining was used to craft an integrated spatial and structural delight for its young occupants.”

Winner of the Carter Holt Harvey Residential Architectural Excellence Award was the Point Wells Gables opposite Omaha, designed by Aaron Paterson and Steven Lloyd of the Paterson Architecture Collective, Steven Lloyd Architecture and Glamuzina Architects. Judges needed to consider its innovative aspects in design, material selection, context, built form, sustainability and its solution vs. complexity and commented, “The use of traditional timber technologies, highly manipulated and carefully detailed, achieves high emotional impact.”

Highly commended in this category was the Torea Studio in Mapua, Nelson of which judges said, “CNC machined CLT wall and roof panels are used to generate an energetic and lively form.” The total-timber “Pak 2” holiday home in Pakiri, Auckland submitted by Box TM, impressed judges with its simple pavilion form.

Innovative uses of engineered timber featured strongly throughout the competition, and the NZ Timber Design Society-sponsored Engineering Innovation category provided many examples. Bealey Avenue Lodge was the eventual winner.

Submitted by RM Designs and Engco Consulting Engineers, judges pointed out this was the first large scale commercial application of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in New Zealand. It was considered ground breaking in terms of its application of solid timber and structural engineering while complying with the NZ Building Code and local construction practices.

The Innovation of Student Design Award was won by two University of Auckland students – “Marking the Journey of Tatau” (tattooing) from Amanda Wijaya is described as a progression through a building likened to the three stages of tatau – the stretching, the tattooing, and the transition to adulthood, enhanced by the louvered and coffered rafters, ceiling and panels.

The second winner was a multifunctional pavilion by Louie Tong. “Rigorous mathematical and geometrical analysis has informed a student design and build project at Henderson High School, which can be seen as a deliberate provocation to engage students’ imagination and interest in mathematics, material and construction,” say judges.

The NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards are organised by:





and supported by:





Find out more about the 2018 Awards .