Wood Design Awards 2015

Atlantic Wood Design Awards

The 1st Atlantic WoodWORKS! Wood Design Awards were celebrated on March 25th at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, NS by more than 100 distinguished guests including; architects, engineers, developers, contractors, federal, provincial and municipal government officials, industry, and partnering associations. The Wood Design Awards luncheon recognized excellence in wood construction and design, and honoured the people and organizations that showcase and promote the use of wood in the Atlantic region. A jury of experts reviewed the 30 nominees within six different categories and selected winners based on several factors including: creativity, distinctive use of wood materials, ability to satisfy client and site requirements, innovation and overall aesthetics. The panel of three judges included:


[Left: David Bowick, P.Eng, Blackwell Structural Engineering; Middle: Marianne Berube, Executive Director of Ontario WoodWORKS! and founder of the Wood Design Awards program; Right: Ed MacAulay, Project Advisor for Atlantic WoodWORKS!]


To submit a project for the upcoming wood design awards event  (Click Here) 


Award recipients and Categories


Atlantic Architect Award:


Brian Mackay Lyons from Mackay Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd.

Brian Mackay Lyons brings a global spot light to Atlantic Canadian architecture – best known for his designs that use Atlantic Canadian vernacular materials and construction techniques.

Mr. MacKay-Lyons has built a reputation for design excellence confirmed by more than 100 awards, including the 2015 RAIC gold medal, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Firm Award in 2014, six Governor General Medals, two American Institute of Architects Honor Awards for Architecture, 13 Lieutenant Governor’s Medals of Excellence, eight Canadian Architect Awards, three Architectural Record Houses Awards, and seven North American Wood Design Awards.

Brian is also part time professor in the faculty of architecture at the University of Dalhousie and has held many other academic roles in universities throughout North America and Europe. His innovative thought transcends building design into the realm of education. For years, Brian operated an architectural education centre “Ghost Lab” in rural Nova Scotia.  A ghost lab bridges the academic gap, to create a design build environment where future practitioners help design and construct various structures within a short time period.

For several beautiful examples of wood design in non-residential structures, Mr. Brian MacKay-Lyons from MacKay-Lyons – Sweetapple architects ltd. earns the first Atlantic WoodWORKS! architect award.


Atlantic Engineer Award:


Mark Gillis from Gillis & Company Timber Frames

Mark Gillis has almost two decades of experience designing, engineering and manufacturing heavy timber construction. Mark works hard to help educate other designers, architects, engineers and builders on the possibilities and beauties of heavy timber construction. On his own time, he also volunteers his time lecturing at the regions community colleges, universities and professional development sessions – helping grow the wood culture in Atlantic Canada.  He was also the most active participant in the 1st annual wood design awards, submitting 6 different applications in various award categories and placed very high in each of them. Therefore, we would like to congratulate Mr. Mark Gillis from Gillis and company timber frames for winning the first Atlantic WoodWORKS! Engineer award.


New Brunswick Non Residential Project Winner:


University of New Brunswick (UNB) Bailey Hall Theater Renovations designed by Murdock & Boyd Architects.

It has been established through various studies, that there is a clear relationship between the presence of natural wood elements in the built environment, and stress reduction in humans. The UNB Bailey Hall theatre renovation is an excellent example of utilizing woods biophilic relationship with humans and it’s natural acoustic dampening, all while facilitating a conducive learning environment within an institutional setting. Given that this space is used primarily for lectures relating to life sciences, one of the main visual elements is the acoustic paneling on the sidewall, to resemble that of a DNA fingerprint. To the jury, this represented a new creative way of using a familiar product. Eliminating the stigma of wood and it’s poor acoustic properties. Wood is showcased in many areas throughout the theatre, on the walls, ceiling and in furniture. The description submitted with the application was very thorough, making it evident that the architectural work matched well with the client’s needs functionally and environmentally.


Nova Scotia Non Residential Project Winner:


Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre designed by Lydon Lynch Architects in Joint venture with Diamond Schmitt Architects.

In the heart of a deeply forested landscape, which fuelled the boat building industry for centuries, this Lifestyle Centre is a legacy project for Lunenburg County that makes a profound statement about wood use and the cultural ties to the economics of the community. Wood use is highlighted throughout the building both structurally and aesthetically. To the Jury, this was a relativity familiar building type that was executed perfectly – advancing the use of wood in a hybrid institutional and recreational facility, helping expand the market for sustainable Non residential construction.


Newfoundland and Labrador Non Residential Project Winner:



Southlands Community Center designed by Fougere Menchenton Architecture Inc.

Breaking ground as the first cross laminated timber project in Atlantic Canada, the Southlands community centre in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland was a courageous effort.

This particular application of Cross Laminated timber (CLT) was very appealing to the Jury. In most developed mass timber panel markets, the use of CLT can be very complicated.  In this project, the use was very appropriate, in a way where it was not seen as precious or out of reach.  Covering the 3000ft2 multipurpose room, the 3 layered CLT roof paneling is supported on glulam beams to create an effective clear-span structure with an interior wood finish.  This is an excellent demonstration building, which will help boast the main stream use of CLT and push the boundaries of Atlantic Canadian Non-residential construction. This innovative project earns Fougere Menchenton Architecture the Newfoundland and Labrador  Non residential award.