Atlantic WoodWORKS! 2019 Wood Design Award Winners 

(Dartmouth, November 27, 2019)  A select group of Atlantic Canada’s leading architects, engineers, and project teams received Wood Design Awards at the 3rd biannual Atlantic WoodWORKS! Wood Design Awards in Dartmouth on Monday evening.  This formal dinner and awards gala celebrate ‘Wood Champions’ from Atlantic Canada.  Wood Champions are people and organizations that, through design excellence, advocacy, and innovation, are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction.

“We are developing a real wood culture in Atlantic Canada,” says David Porter, Project Coordinator for the Atlantic WoodWORKS! program.  “More and more of our designers and project teams recognize the advantages of using wood in construction.  Wood is much more than a beautiful material that adds warmth and comfort to interior spaces.  Wood is also durable, cost effective and sustainable.”  He goes on to say, “The designers here tonight have learned how to creatively leverage these benefits to produce timeless, beautiful and inspiring buildings using wood.”

Atlantic WoodWORKS! handed out twelve awards at the event.  The Atlantic signature ‘Wood Sail’ trophies were handed out for projects that used wood in various categories: Non-Residential, Multi-Unit Residential, Residential, Hybrid and Jury’s choice.  Awards were also given for Engineer of the Year, Architect of the Year, and finally for Atlantic Wood Champion.  Among the winning projects were USVA Nordik Spa, Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery, Anne of Green Gables Visitor’s Centre, and St. Thomas Community Centre.

Award winner Vincent den Hartog, an architect from Wolfville, NS, had this to say, “It was an honour to receive two awards for the design of the Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery on Monday evening.  To see so many projects honouring our tradition of building with wood at the Atlantic Woodworks Awards 2019 was also inspirational.  A renewal of that tradition will be a key component for building a sustainable future.”

Wood WORKS! is a national, industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council that promotes and supports the use of wood in all types of construction. Working with the design community, Wood WORKS! connects practitioners with resources related to the use of wood in commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-unit residential construction, assists in product sourcing, and delivers educational seminars and training opportunities to existing and future practitioners.

New Brunswick Non-Residential Project Award



Project: USVA Nordik Spa (Moncton, NB)

Architect:  Design Plus Architecture

Structural Engineer:  Ingénierie MATCH Engineering 

The decision to favor wood in this design set the tone for the entire project.  This tone fused with the branding for the USVA Nordik (winter spa) featured an extensive use of black vertical wood siding. While the project generally reads as visually cold, a result of the brand’s muted palate; this feeling is offset by the tactile warmth of wood’s materiality.   Wherever possible wood elements were used as an interior finish bringing a touch of biophilic design which again plays into the spa type branding of the project.

It is also noteworthy to mention the use of wood as the main above ground construction material. Using a typical wood frame construction was implicit in the conception of the design which reduced overall costs by taking advantage of a local workforce well versed in wood construction.  The result is a building that is at once warm and cool, soft and robust, contemporary yet timeless. All of which wouldn’t have been achievable were it not for the special qualities of wood and the design possibilities wood products offer.

Nova Scotia Non-Residential Project Award

Project: Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery (Wolfville, NS)     

Architect: Vincent den Hartog, Architect

Structural Engineer: Larry Honey, P.Eng.

The connection of people to the land is a key component to making great wine, so making a strong connection between the building and its ‘place’ was an overarching philosophy during the design process for the winery.  Wood was the natural material choice for structural systems and finishes to pay homage to the heritage of agricultural buildings of the Annapolis Valley.

Wood is featured in every capacity; structure, exterior and interior wall finishes, flooring, ceilings, furniture, and even toilet stall partitions.   Most of the materials were sourced and fabricated locally, fulfilling one of the key design goals; that the building should provide visitors an experience of this ‘place’.  Many of the spaces in the Winery are large to accommodate hundreds of people, but the warmth of the wood finishes makes them comfortable even when only a handful of people are present.


Prince Edward Island Non-Residential Project Award

Project:  Indian River Festival Pavilion (Indian River, PE)     

Architect: Montgomery Sisam Architects and Nine Yards Studio

Structural Engineer: Blackwell Structural Engineers and SCL Engineering 

The new pavilion is open to the south and west with views and access points looking out over the nearby pastures and Malpeque Bay in the distance. A low roof with glass doors and an outdoor wood deck engage the extensive lawn while high clerestory windows above allow daylight into the centre of the pavilion, taking on the appearance of a large lantern as the sky darkens in the evening.

The exterior of the pavilion is largely composed of pre-finished (white solid stain) Eastern White Cedar shingles to tie in with the white shingles of the church. The interior is composed of white painted, exterior-grade plywood and a roof made up of glue laminated beams and structural wood deck.

The natural wood roof provides a warmth to the pavilion interior and resonates with the natural wood vaulted ceiling of the church.  The pavilion was designed to complement in colour, material and scale rather than imitate the strong French Gothic architecture of the church.


Newfoundland and Labrador Non-Residential Project Award

Project:  St. Thomas Community Centre (Paradise, NL)     

Architect: Woodford Sheppard Architecture

Structural Engineer: Sound Engineering 

Wood contributed heavily to the design of this building.  It’s ability to adapt allowed the building’s form and scale to be rooted in the traditional houses and out-buildings of the area but re- interpreted in a modern context.  The exterior wood wall structure allows for a seemingly random layout of windows of varying sizes which adds a real sense of fun to both the interior and exterior while framing views of the surrounding landscape.  The interior of the building is quite unique as well, using vaulted, asymmetrical, pre-manufactured roof trusses to span across the large public areas creating unique gathering places for the community.  These vaulted ceiling areas are finished in clear coated plywood, adding warmth to the spaces while providing a contrast to the rough wood outside. 

Atlantic Hybrid Award


Project:  Anne of Green Gables Visitor’s Centre (Cavendish, PE)     

Architect:  Root Architecture

Engineer: CBCL Limited 

The architect wanted the structure to be beautiful and sustainable, while at the same time keep the visitor’s focus on the Green Gables house itself.  In order to deliver on such an ambitious mandate, the architect conceived a wood post and beam structure.  The traditional wood framing is a natural progression from the traditional timber framing used within the barn.  The exposed wood fit into the aesthetic goals but was also the best way to pursue a more sustainable approach to the structural design.  The glulam structure was complimented by NLT roof panels which were fabricated locally with regionally sourced lumber.

Phase 2 of the Green Gables Visitor’s Centre will be seeking LEED Gold certification.


Atlantic Multi-Unit Residential Award


Project:  Stanley Street Homes (Halifax, NS)

Architects: Eric Stotts and Andy Lynch  

Engineer:  Andrea Doncaster Engineering 

Stanley Street homes is a condo development in the Hydrostone area of Halifax.  These efficient, modern condos are built for a simpler lifestyle.  This development used wood products wherever possible, including cape cod siding, birch floors, Norwood wood windows and exposed spruce beams and decking.

Atlantic Residential Award

Project:  Mirror Point (Annapolis Royal, NS)

Architect:  MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects   

Engineer:  Campbell Comeau Engineering 

Mirror Point cottage is committed to ‘place’.  It is designed with a respect of traditional coastal language and employs a formal inventiveness with common local materials. Materially this is a ‘sweet and sour’ building, combining highly crafted western red cedar millwork with banal economical SPF gang nail trusses, which are common in contemporary North American House construction. These ‘gang-nail’ wood structural components were used extensively to reduce the amount of structural steel and cost. These ordinary materials, normally covered up, are celebrated in the living and dining space and are juxtaposed against natural cedar millwork and pine shiplap painted white.

The exterior is clad in local eastern white cedar shingles and a standing seam metal roof. Building on a traditional understanding of local wood construction, different wood species were used based on their natural properties and historical application. The cedar shingles contain natural preservatives and are better suited to the local climate and the hemlock terrace is naturally rot resistant.

Atlantic Engineer Award



Engineer Award:  Andrea Doncaster (Andrea Doncaster Engineering) (Dartmouth, NS)   

Andrea Doncaster Engineering has and will continue to use wood in a building design because it is the material of choice for home designers and builders in Atlantic Canada.  As a purely structural material it is affordable, easy to work with, and trades are familiar with working with it.  In its exposed condition, wood is a beautiful and warm material that meets the wants and needs of homeowners.

Atlantic Architect Award



Architect Award:  Kendall Taylor (Root Architecture) (Dartmouth, NS)  

Kendall Taylor named his firm ‘Root’ Architecture for a reason.  His family immigrated here in 1810 and worked in the Forestry and Farming industries.  They still own land in central Nova Scotia where they have a log cabin and a wood lot.  The name originated from this history but also due to Kendall’s commitment to climate change mitigation.  Kendall has been active in the Green Building movement since 2003.  Because wood is timeless and soothing, Kendall always tries to incorporate wood into the overall aesthetic of his projects.


Jury’s Choice Award #1



Project:  Mirror Point (Annapolis Royal, NS)

Architect:  MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects   

Engineer:  Campbell Comeau Engineering 

Jury Comments:

“This project strongly reflects the concept of ‘Place’.  The elevated ‘fish shed’ provides a natural link to our Atlantic history and landscape – it is a magical design, reflecting the best use of wood, passive energy, and high creativity.” 

“The building integrates beautifully with its context, and with its use of wood almost seems to grow out of its surroundings.  It sits lightly on the site and its elevated nature allows it to frame the beautiful coastal views.” 

Jury’s Choice Award #2

Project: Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery (Wolfville, NS)     

Architect: Vincent den Hartog, Architect

Structural Engineer: Larry Honey, P.Eng. 

Jury Comments:

“With its board and batten siding, this project strongly recalls the agricultural heritage of the Maritimes.  The choice of Douglas-fir for support structures and local hemlock for floors, roof and decking represents an excellent use of wood.  On both the exterior and interior, the structure has a warm earthy feel.” 

“The contrast of the timber framing with the polished concrete floors creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.  The use of wood and joinery is clean, simple and elegant.” 

Wood Champion



Wood Champion: Ross Cantwell (President, HRM Apartments) 

Ross Cantwell is a developer from Halifax, NS and is one of the first in Nova Scotia to build a midrise building with wood frame construction.  The VELO is a 5 storey wood over concrete structure with leased commercial space on the ground floor and 103 residential units on the upper 4 floors.  The VELO was an environmentally conscious development which made wood an exceptional candidate as the primary building material.  The use of wood greatly reduced the embodied emissions of the structure, and the light wood frame walls minimized thermal breaks, greatly reducing energy costs over time.  Ross exhibits the characteristics required to be referred to as a ‘Wood Champion’: He believes in wood, he pushes the standards of wood construction and he advances innovation in the use of wood.

Wood Design Awards 2016


Atlantic WoodWORKS! 2016 Wood Design Award Winners Announced

(Halifax, November 8, 2016)  A select group of Atlantic Canada’s leading architects, engineers, and project teams received Wood Design Awards at the 2nd Atlantic WoodWORKS! celebration in Halifax on Tuesday afternoon.  The Atlantic WoodWORKS! awards program recognizes people and organizations that, through design excellence, advocacy, and innovation, are advancing the use of wood in all types of construction.

Jury member, Steven Street of Ontario WoodWORKS! said: “The quality of this year’s entries was exceptional. Many of the projects had a clear sensitivity to the culture of the Maritimes – especially some winning entries that emphasized regional materials and methods. The varied uses of the buildings really show the versatility that wood can bring to a project- producing sustainable, innovative, cost-effective building solutions – while significantly lowering the carbon footprint.”

Atlantic WoodWORKS! handed out nine awards at the event; seven went to specific wood projects and two were given to professionals whose contributions to the design/build community made them stand out as wood design experts and advocates.  Among the winning projects were the new Cabot Links Lodge, Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park Building, the qplex and the Harris East condo building.

“The inspirational projects showed how adaptable wood can be for buildings ranging in scale from single family homes to sports facilities with long-span wood trusses. We saw wood being used in its purest raw form and wood incorporated in hybrid systems with other materials,” explains Jury member, David Moses of Moses Structural Engineers. “This second year of the Wood Design Awards exemplifies the emerging trend of using local, sustainable wood in construction and I have no doubt this is just the beginning of a movement throughout Atlantic Canada to expand the innovative and creative use of wood in design.”

Wood WORKS! is a national, industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council that promotes and supports the use of wood in all types of construction. Working with the design community, Wood WORKS! connects practitioners with resources related to the use of wood in commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-unit residential construction, assists in product sourcing, and delivers educational seminars and training opportunities to existing and future practitioners.


2016 Atlantic WoodWORKS! Award Winners


Award Winner

New Brunswick Non-residential Project Award


Project:  qplex (Quispamsis, NB)

Architect:  Murdock & Boyd Architects

Engineer:  Eastern Designers Company Limited

Located in Quispamsis, the arena project is a great example of using wood trusses in a long span creating a great looking modern hybrid roof system. Arched glulam wood trusses were used to create a sense of warmth in a cooler ice rink setting. This warmth significantly adds to the atmosphere of the building. Wood is used in combination with other materials which contrast and also complement each other. The wood lends a very natural element to the ambient conditions of the arena.


Nova Scotia Non-residential Project Award

Project: Cabot Links Lodge (Inverness, NS)     

Architect: Fowler Bauld & Mitchell Ltd.

Engineer: BMR Structural Engineering

The Cabot Links lodge in Inverness Cape Breton was divided into a series of buildings, linked by a heavy timber walkway allowed for the use of conventional wood construction facilitating the use of local contractors and embedding the project more fully within the local consciousness of rural Cape Breton.

The heavy timber post and beam walkway has galvanized steel connections, floating the posts above the walkway. The 2×4 Nail Laminated Timber structural decking follows the grid of the building turning with the curve of the structure, with the structural grid clearly marked.

The Cabot Links Lodge grows out of both its landscape and cultural conditions. Wood construction is very much part of the vernacular of rural Cape Breton.


Newfoundland and Labrador Non-residential Project Award


Project:  Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park Building (Gander, NL)     

Architect: Chris Woodford of Woodford Sheppard Architecture

Prime Consultant: Tract Consulting Ltd

Situated as the gateway to the redeveloped Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park in Gander the design of this new community building was focused on creating a structure that both complimented the surrounding landscaping while providing an interesting and dynamic experience for the park users. With this in mind wood was the natural choice material.

The building is framed and clad completely in wood. While in some aspects the building seems quite traditional with respect to how it’s constructed the wood cladding is detailed in a very modern fashion. The wood cladding and the wood scissor truss roofing system both extend beyond the length of the building to provide covered spaces for users while highlighting the entrances. The centre piece of the design is a slatted wood framed canopy around the building’s main entry. This canopy contrasts the shape of the main building in a very non-traditional way. The canopy emphasizes how flexible wood construction can be and how simply it can be used to create unique design.


Atlantic Hybrid Award

Project:  Simpson Landing (Dartmouth, NS)    

Architect:  William Nycum & Associates Ltd.

Engineer: CBCL Limited

This project has a great story- it illustrates how an institutional care facility can be designed to fit its purpose but also to fit the landscape and ensure the comfort of its clients. Simpson Landing provides transitional mental health services for people moving from inpatient care to independent living situations.

The potential for the building to appear as a large institutional facility was mitigated by introducing traditional peak-roofed “house” forms to dissolve the large facility into smaller units. Each “house” is home to ten residents, and all of the houses are linked together to allow support and care staff access to individuals and groups and encourage healthy socialization among the residents.

The client wanted the exterior of the building to relate to the adjacent residential community, helping the project to fit in with its neighbourhood, and greatly reducing the stigma for people entering a “hospital” for mental health care.


Atlantic Multi-Unit Residential Award

Project:  Harris East (Halifax, NS)

Architect:  Michael Napier Architecture

Engineer:  Pinto Engineering Ltd.

The Harris East condos are located in an increasingly vibrant neighborhood in central Halifax.

Wood frame construction was chosen for both speed of erection and economic reasons.

Structurally, the designers were able to choose a variety of wood products that minimized the need for interior bearing walls which aided in achieving the open plan concept characteristic of these smaller urban suites. Through massing, scale and materiality the building was able to blend in with the more traditional housing units in the neighbourhood while also addressing the area’s industrial mixed-use components. The harder and brighter materials, such as corrugated galvalume and HPL panels were inspired by the industrial context. The use of wood speaks more to the residential context and softens the facade. All outdoor living areas are backed by vertical walls of stained shiplap siding, while all soffits above these spaces seamlessly incorporate the same wood product. Thus the areas most frequented by residents benefit from the warmth and texture of this native, natural product.


Atlantic Residential Award

Project:  Rabbit Snare Gorge (Inverness, NS)

Architect:  Omar Gandhi Architect   

Engineer:  Andrea Doncaster Engineering

Nominal sized lumber materials, bought and supplied locally were used for the framing of the cabin – engineered to withstand the extreme Cape Breton winds. The exterior cladding is made up entirely of eastern white cedar boards. The interior material palette is composed of birch plywood.

The end result is a tall gabled building resembling a solid block of local wood. This house is very striking due to its unusual proportions and over-all minimalistic approach.

Jury’s Choice Award



Project:  St. John Ambulance Headquarters (Dartmouth, NS)   

Architect:   William Nycum & Associates Ltd.

Engineer:   Pinto Engineering Ltd.

The St. John Ambulance Headquarters building is a one storey building that combines several functions under one roof.

Wood provided a familiar building material and economical choice for smaller-scaled portions of the building. The Administration wing of the project is primarily standard dimensional framing – easily adaptable and configurable for a standard office layout for private and shared workspaces. The wood trusses in the classroom wing provide column-free learning spaces and enhance the aesthetics of the exposed tongue and groove structural pine decking in these spaces. Clerestory windows are spaced between each of the classrooms’ trusses with light fixtures integrated into the truss forms themselves, providing an integrated approach to daylighting and artificial lighting strategies.

Wood, expressed as an interior finish in classroom spaces, provides a warm natural material, creating engaging spaces in which to teach and learn.


Atlantic Engineer Award

Engineer Award:  Andrea Doncaster (Andrea Doncaster Engineering) (Dartmouth, NS)   

Working on projects that highlight wood with exposed structure, and sharing the beautiful images of the finished projects helps Andrea contribute to the creation of a wood culture. Also, as an instructor who teaches Dalhousie Engineering students about wood construction, Andrea makes sure to be proactive with the latest developments, code changes and new products available in the wood industry. She brings this knowledge into her structural engineering practice where she can make recommendations to the clients and designers. Andrea continues to bring new and creative wood solutions to the local market.


Atlantic Architect Award

Architect Award:  Tom Emodi (TEAL Architects+Planners) (Halifax, NS)

Tom Emodi and his team at TEAL architects and planners work to contribute to the creation of wood culture by trying to ‘push the envelope’ for the use of six storey wood, and eventually taller buildings. TEAL and its consulting team are applying for a building permit under the 2010 National Building Code using alternative compliance path. Tom continues to use wood wherever possible to demonstrate its qualities. Tom has been instrumental in the design and implementation of Atlantic Canada’s first 6-storey wood project and has played a very important role in increasing awareness and excitement concerning the new building code changes.



For additional information, photos, or to arrange interviews contact Carole Blenkhorn:

1-902-667-3889 (best)   •    1-902-664-6189    •