The Wood Awards
November 2015

We had a lovely time at the Annual Wood Awards last week. It was great to be part of a national celebration of the craft of timber, and to be around so much woody-enthusiasum.

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The Wood Awards is a national competition for excellence in buildings using wood. It is a very prestigious award, and it was a privilege to be shortlisted alongside some of the UK architecture industry’s big-hitters like Norman Foster and as above Feilden Clegg Bradley.

We showed the judges round the kiosk in August, and as you can imagine it didn’t take much time to get round all three square metres of it, left us lots of time to talk to about how the kiosk was built, and provided an unparalleled opportunity to get nerdy about wood!

I though it might be interesting to share some of this nerdiness and a couple of photos of the Kiosk under construction by the team at Hardie Design.

The kiosk is built from Tulipwood that has been through an acetylation process, which the supplier described to me as being similar to soaking a conker in vinegar. We used it in a panel form, supplied by a manufacturer in Germany, which allow the 328 individual pieces of wood that make up the outside of the kiosk to be digitally CNC-cut.

The use of CNC cutting and computer modelling was pivotal in creating the complex form of the kiosk, but the process also relied heavily on the skill and experience of the joiners Hardie Design, who are perhaps more used to working with green oak. This process of going between a computer model, computer-generated cutting templates, and a real craft-based knowledge of working with wood was one of the most rewarding experiences for us as architects on the project.

There was a wonderful moment when I saw the outside of the kiosk for the first time. All the design and 3d-modelling that had happened digitally was suddenly there in front of me and it looked all the richer and more exciting for the fact that it was real and made of wood.