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Common Ground Wins 2017 Wood Design Award

PROJECT: Common Ground High School
ARCHITECT: Gray Organschi Architecture
AWARD CATEGORY: Wood School Design
PHOTOS: David Sundberg and Gray Organschi Architecture

WoodWorks, Wood Products Council has announced the winners of its 2017 Wood Design Awards, which celebrate excellence in wood building design across the U.S. Chosen by an independent jury in nine national categories, the winning projects exemplify attributes of wood such as beauty, strength, versatility and sustainability.

Seven Regional Excellence Awards will be presented at regional Wood Solutions Fairs beginning with the Texas Wood Solutions Fair in Dallas on March 22.

“This year’s winning projects are interesting in part for what they say about the state of wood building design. The design community is clearly embracing innovative new materials, systems and techniques, contributing to a modern wood aesthetic that’s still linked to traditional wood construction and beauty. The concept of what a wood building can or should be is expanding, and that’s exciting. It’s an honor for us to share these projects with a wider audience,” said WoodWorks Executive Director, Jennifer Cover.

For the Type VB, 15,000-square-foot addition to Common Ground High School in New Haven, Connecticut, the project team chose a combination of CLT and glulam. CLT panels provide the tension surface (and final ceiling finish) in a revolutionary system of prefabricated stressed skin assemblies that span the upper classrooms and circulation spaces. Vertical CLT panels form bearing and shear walls throughout the building while glulam rafters and heavy timber trusses span a large ground floor multi-purpose space. A treated glulam bridge deck on laminated timber piers provides access from the upper campus. Assisted only by a mobile crane, a five-person assembly crew installed the entire primary structure and enclosure in just four weeks. A primary objective for this project was that the building itself would be an environmental exemplar that integrated new ecological concepts and building technologies in a clearly legible and potentially instructive way. The team chose mass timber for its many benefits, including renewability, sustainability, and carbon sequestration.