Of the 26 recipients of the American Institute of Architects 2014 Honor Awards, quite a few relied in a big way on wood - frequently reclaimed or finished in a natural textured fashion.

The American Institute of Architects 2014 Institute Honor Awards, announced in January, is the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.

These winners are among the thousand of projects built by architects and construction companies, usually subcontracting to architecural woodworkers. Lamentably, among the credits for these winning entries, there are almost no mentions of companies responsible for a key element of the projects - architectural millwork and woodworking.

This time around there were more than 500 total submissions from throughout the world. The 26 winners will be honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.

I've posted the photos of a number of the winning projects where wood was a critical component. Let me know what you think.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center  Brooklyn, New York WEISS/MANFREDI Architects
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center is an inhabitable topography defining a threshold between the city and the garden, culture and cultivation. Materials were purchased locally, and quite appropriately a century-old Ginko tree was successfully transplanted on-site, while other trees in conflict were harvested, milled, and integrated into interior finishes.

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) Campus Waterloo, Ontario, Canada KPMB Architects
This project is located on a 3.9-acre site and is a reinterpretation of a traditional academic quad building based on the Oxford model. The client asked for a campus to last at least 100 years, a “vibrant sanctuary,” to facilitate reflection, collaboration, and discussion. The solution consists of two three-story, interconnected buildings and an auditorium pavilion organized around a courtyard. A limited palette of local limestone and brick masonry, wood and glass was used to create a serene atmosphere for study and reflection.

New Boathouse for Community Rowing, Inc. (CRI) Boston Anmahian Winton Architects
The main-building envelope consists of large-scale aluminum frames and high-density composite panels with natural wood veneer that accommodate varying natural-ventilation requirements. The same cladding material was used as louvers to mask locker-room windows and mechanical vents, and to provide shading on the south side of the building.

Jackson Hole Airport Jackson, Wyoming Gensler Architects
Being the only airport in the U.S. located within a National Park, the Jackson Hole Airport is a considerate renovation that takes advantage of awe-inspiring surroundings. The airport is defined by its wood structure, which was inspired by the humble expression of structures found in barns and sheds throughout the region. Weathered steel and smooth ground-concrete floors provide contrast to the tactile qualities of the wood structure. Interior architecture and design, branding, and public art were used cohesively to create a lodge-like atmosphere in keeping with the region.

The Pierre San Juan Island, Washington Olson Kundig Architects
A secure and unexpected retreat nestled into a rocky outcropping, The Pierre (French for stone)  is composed of concrete, wood, steel and glass, and topped with a green roof.The master suite features a custom-designed bed in the middle of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The master bathroom’s sink consists of water cascading through three polished pools in the existing stone. Off the main space, a powder room is fully carved out of the rock.

Constantly bridging indoors and outdoors, the design features a wood-clad storage box that spans through an exterior wall, occupying both interior and exterior space. Also a large pivoting steel and glass door opens for access to an outdoor terrace. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths were carved out of existing stone; they’re leveled on top, but otherwise raw.

Quaker Meeting House and Arts Center, Sidwell Friends School Washington, DC KieranTimberlake Architects
With a minimum of means, this project transforms a non-descript 1950s gymnasium into a Quaker Meeting House and Arts Center serving the entire middle and upper school community at Sidwell Friends School. The building program includes a worship space, visual art and music rooms, and exhibition areas.

The materials palette was limited to only wood and plaster. In old meeting houses wood is often used in places where it may be touched; after centuries, it retains its integrity and character. In the new Meeting House, oak from long-unused Maryland barns was used to line the lower walls and floor. The exterior, too, is clad with black locust harvested from a single source in New Jersey.

Bar Agricole San Francisco Aidlin Darling Design
This project is a 1,400-square-foot restaurant and bar located in San Francisco’s industrial South of Market district. A wooden “hull”—constructed of reclaimed whiskey-barrel oak, milled into thin strips, and suspended from the ceiling—creates a sense of intimacy in the long, tall interior of the former warehouse building.
Designed to complement the restaurant’s seasonal menu, the interior palette balances warm textures with the use of durable, sustainable materials. Two bars, made of board-formed concrete and old barn beams, anchor the space. 

Knoll Flagship Showroom  New York City Architecture Research Office
Architecture Research Office’s design of Knoll’s New York showroom, offices, and shop reflects intelligent planning, sensitivity to craft and joyful materiality. 

Odegaard Undergraduate Library Seattle The Miller Hull Partnership
The interior renovation of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library re-imagines the learning experience for 21st century students through the astonishing transformation of space in an outmoded 1970s building; accomplished in two years by state mandate. Updates to the massive 165,000 square foot library, serving 10,000 students, 24 hours a day, include removal of an imposing atrium staircase.

The existing atrium was effectively reinvented to become the true “heart” of the building, both functionally and architecturally. Removal and replacement of the main atrium stair with a more efficient stair gained significantly more usable study and gathering space.
The original oak stair railings were repurposed throughout the new atrium space. The remilled oak spindles enabled an undulating railing pattern, which adds interest and breaks up the massive space.

The Pierre San Juan Island, Washington Olson Kundig Architects
A secure and unexpected retreat nestled into a rocky outcropping, The Pierre celebrates the materiality of its Pacific Northwest site. The house—composed of concrete, wood, steel and glass, and topped with a planted roof—visually and physically merges with nature. Inside, rugged surfaces of rock periodically emerge into the space, contrasting with the refined textures of the furnishings. Antique and vintage furniture is complemented by custom-designed pieces, while contemporary works of art are displayed inside and outside the house.

SoHo Loft  New York City Gabellini Sheppard Associates LLP
This 8,284 square foot interior renovation enhances a New York City SoHo-Loft with design emphasizing lightness, openness, spatial fluidity and permeability.Thresholds are defined by sliding translucent doors, acting as light filters, while providing flexibility of use. A Scandinavian style look emphasized unstained wood in an atrium staircase in this SOHO loft by Gabellini Sheppard.

A Scandinavian style look emphasized unstained wood in an atrium staircase in this SOHO loft by Gabellini Sheppard. - See more at: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-blogs/fine-woodworking/custom-bil...

Venture Capital Office Headquarters Menlo Park, CA Paul Murdoch Architects; Kappe Architects Planners
Gardens, transparency and wood finishes create a warm, intimate work environment for this office headquarters of a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Strong, accent-colored glass expresses the company’s reputation for risk taking while fine, wire-brushed wood finishes form an elegant and understated feeling in keeping with the firm’s market sophistication.

Find a complete list of the AIA 2014 Honors Awards here, and see more of each entry here.

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