Tree Frog Forestry News

BC Oscars recognize designers that push the wood envelope

By Kelly McCloskey
Tree Frog Forestry News
March 5, 2019
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Canadian Wood Council initiative to grow the market for wood hosted its 15th annual wood gala awards at the Vancouver Convention Centre Monday evening. The event, organized and hosted by Wood WORKS! BC, was a sold-out affair with 460 attendees. Co-hosts Greg Sinclair (Wood WORKS! chair) and Lynn Embury-Williams (Executive Director) spoke of the “exciting times in BC” given the 2009 building code change that allowed mid-rise wood structures and the new changes that will soon allow timber buildings up to 12 storeys. To date, more that 400 mid-rise buildings and multi-building complexes have been constructed or are in the process of being designed and built. 

With more than 103 nominations for 14 award categories, the Oscars-like event was a showcase of innovation, efficiency, beauty and environmentally sustainable design. Top award winners include Shelley Craig of Urban Arts Architecture who snagged to coveted Wood Champion Award for her work in support of the 2009 mid-rise code changes and the championing and adoption of its application and use since. Other top winners include Darryl Bowers at Weiler Smith Bowers Structural Engineers, who won the 2019 Engineer Award for his contribution [amongst many] to the development of BC’s mid-rise construction boom; and James Tuer of JWT Architecture and Planning, who won the 2019 Architect Award for his array of residential and commercial wood buildings on the small enclave known as Bowen Island. Also significant was the special recognition given to Surrey fire chief Len Garis for his considerable contribution to ensuring public safety concerns were addressed and fire professionals were ‘on board’.

The cast of characters involved in presenting the awards was also impressive with BC Ministry of Forests Deputy Minister John Allan’s keynote focusing on the importance of showcasing BC’s wood innovators while promoting the benefits of wood building buildings and products given their positive contribution to climate change and the environment. Other presenters included CWC’s Rick Jeffrey and Etienne Lalonde, Canfor’s Bob Smith, Interfor’s Bart Bender, West Fraser’s Allan Shaw, Western Forest Product’s Don McGregor, COFI’s Mina Laudan, FPInnovations’ Neil Huff and Structurlam’s Hardy Wentzel. 

[Watch for the full Tree Frog News photo gallery link in tomorrow’s news!]