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NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design entries close April 30

NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design entries close April 30

Dr Andrew Barrie, M.Arch, D.Eng (Tokyo) is Professor of Design at the University of Auckland. In 2017, his company Andrew Barrie Lab together with Ruamoko Solutions, Tezuka Architects, Ohno Japan and Contract Construction won the Supreme Award in the NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards, plus the Commercial Architectural Excellence Award.

NZ Wood talked to him about how he believes this project has shifted attitudes within the industry.

Cathedral Grammar Junior School, designed in collaboration with Japanese architects and engineers, consists of seven classrooms, a common room, office, and amenities all arranged around a central courtyard. Construction of the building required new milling technology to deliver ±0.5mm accuracy in the cutting of the large LVL frame elements, which arrived on site with grooves, notches, and bolt holes to make them ready to assemble.

“The design tested the accuracy of milling machinery to its limits,” said Dr Barrie. “The apparent simplicity of the building belies the challenging engineering and innovative fabrication that was required.”

“I think there had been a suspicion that New Zealand was behind in the timber technology field,” said Dr Barrie. “What was achieved with Cathedral Grammar was not only something of a first for the country, but has probably moved local expectations up a step or two. It was amazing to see the very tight tolerances, initially thought laughable, achieved through very close collaboration between architects, engineers, fabricators, and contractors.”

Gaining the Supreme Award also served to give the winners added confidence in their work. “We had a feeling the project was special, but it’s wonderful to have it confirmed by your peers,” he said.

There’s still time to enter your exciting project in the 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards – they don’t close until Monday, April 30. For more details go to

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