2021 Best Use of Certified Timber Shortlist

The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has revealed the 2021 Best Use of Certified Timber Shortlist, supported for the third year in a row by Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). This year’s eight shortlisted projects highlight the work of practices across the world, from Denmark to Tokyo, that push new boundaries in the use of certified timber, in terms of construction, sustainability and aesthetics.

Habour Kiosk by LAAB Architects

This year’s shortlisted projects include The Ariake Gymnastics Centre, a purpose-built venue for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, by Nikken Sekkei + Shimizu Corporation. The 12,000-capacity building is defined by a striking timber floating vessel that wraps around it, and extensive timber throughout: a commitment to sustainability and an homage to the district’s historical connection to the timber industry. The shortlist also features the largest cross laminated timber (CLT) building in the United States, and first large-scale mass timber residence hall, Adohi Hall, University of Arkansas by Leers Weinzapfel Associates lead Architects for consortium with Modus Studio and Mackey Mitchell Architects.

This year the eight shortlisted teams will present their projects to the jury, consisting of Keith Bradley of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Carin Smuts of CS Studio Architects, Darryl Condon of HCMA Architecture + Design, and a PEFC representative, before the winning project is announced live on the final day of the festival. The Prize rewards architects and project teams for using certified timber as the main construction material for buildings outstanding in sustainability, innovation, quality or aesthetics.

Climatorium Climate Centre by 3XN

The shortlist also includes an educational climate centre on the west coast of Denmark by 3XN, featuring a wave carved into the façade, clad in light wood, resembling the ribbed hull of a boat. It also features a micro-library designed by Indonesian architects SHAU, a community space constructed from environmentally conscious materials and designed to serve low-income neighbourhoods.

Mon Repos Turtle Center by Kirk

The shortlisted research, conservation and visitor centre dedicated to nesting sea turtles on Mon Repos Beach is an impressive glulam timber structure by KIRK architects. Daramu House in Barangaroo, Sydney, by Tzannes, has a distinctive sculptural form which features an impressive 18m span in timber, pushing the limits of timber construction and making it a world leader in sustainability.

Daramu House by Tzannes

Scion Innovation Hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, is a workplace located on the edge of the redwood forest in Whakarewarewa Forest Park. Its curated exhibition of wood-fibre technology is curated beneath a trio of glulam timber ‘peaks’, making it a cutting-edge showcase for engineered timber, while the Harbour Kiosk in Hong Kong by LAAB Architects features 49 robotic arms behind the profiled timber fins, creating an engaging kinetic piece of public architecture.

Scion Innovation Hub Te Whare Nui o Tuteata by RTA Studio and Irving Smith Architects

Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, commented: “It is inspiring to see the large variety of buildings in the finals, benefitting from the use of certified timber in so many ways. While some of the architects chose timber for its flexibility and robustness, others appreciate its natural look and the positive effects it has for people, climate and the planet.”
“Our expertise lies in managing forests sustainably, PEFC is pleased to partner with WAF to promote responsible timber sourcing helping architects and their clients to request full traceability as well as reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings.”
Paul Finch, Programme Director of World Architecture Festival, commented: ‘Sustainable timber construction is making a big impression on architecture and design across the world, and we are delighted at the interest the prize has generated among practices entering the WAF Awards. Judging will be tough, given the wide range of geographies and building types that have made the shortlist. We look forward to celebrating the winner at the Festival in Lisbon.’
The eight shortlisted projects were selected from 28 architects and project teams from 13 countries who entered their projects into this year’s special prize category.
In 2019, the prize was awarded to Pingelly Recreation and Cultural Centre (PRACC) by iredale pedersen hook architects and Advanced Timber Concepts while a high commendation was awarded to Turo de la Peira’s Sports Centre by Anna Noguera and Javier Fernandez.

The full shortlist for the WAF Certified Timber Prize 2021:

Project name: Adohi Hall
Architect name: Leers Weinzapfel Associates lead Architects for consortium with Modus Studio and Mackey Mitchell Architects
Category: Housing – Completed Buildings
Country: United States
Project name: Ariake Gymnastics Centre
Architect name: Nikken Sekkei + Shimizu Corporation
Category: Sport – Completed Buildings
Country: Japan
Project name: Microlibrary Warak Kayu
Architect name: SHAU
Category: Culture – Completed Buildings
Country: Indonesia
Project name: Mon Repos Turtle Centre
Architect name: KIRK
Category: Display – Completed Buildings
Country: Australia
Project name: Daramu House
Architect name: Tzannes
Category: Office – Completed Buildings
Country: Australia
Project name: Harbour Kiosk
Architect name: LAAB Architects
Category: Shopping – Completed Buildings
Country Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Project name: Scion Innovation Hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata
Architect name: RTA Studio and Irving Smith Architects
Category: Higher Education and Research – Completed Buildings
Country: New Zealand
Project name: Climatorium
Architect name: 3XN
Category: Higher Education and Research – Completed Buildings
Country: Denmark


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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