‘Unique’ Cork House takes Gold at this year’s Wood Awards ceremony

Cork House, a unique building built almost entirely from cork and timber, was the winner of winners at this year’s Wood Awards ceremony, taking home both the coveted Gold Award and the Private Award – but there was more awe-inspiring design among the victors. From the stunning birch-faced plywood lattice ceiling which replaced a destroyed roof in the 1890’s grade II* listed Battersea Arts Centre, to the fun Udon Stool named for the thick Japanese noodle it resembles – the winners captivated this year’s judges with outstanding design.

The Wood Awards winners were announced on 19 November at a ceremony held at Carpenters’ Hall, London, hosted by Priya Khanchandani, editor of Icon magazine.

TRADA is a dedicated sponsor of the Wood Awards and is always proud to celebrate and promote the outstanding design and craftsmanship shown by the winners.

Cork House (Image credit: TRADA)

Location: Eton
Architect: Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton
Client: Matthew Barnett Howland and Dido Milne
Structural engineer: Arup
Main contractor: Matthew Barnett Howland with M&P London Contractors Ltd
Joinery: Whyte & Wood
CNC machining of cork blocks: Wup Doodle
Internal joinery: Nic Rhode Furniture
Furniture: Tom Graham Workshop
Wood supplier: NFP Europe Ltd
Wood species: Portuguese cork oak, New Zealand pine, Estonian spruce, American/Canadian western red cedar, Austrian spruce and American white oak

Cork House is built almost entirely from cork and timber. Monolithic walls and corbelled roof pyramids are built with load-bearing expanded cork made from the bark of the cork oak tree, a by-product from wine stoppers. Conceived as a prefabricated kit-of-parts, blocks of expanded cork were CNC-machined off-site and then assembled on-site by hand without mortar or glue. All 1,268 pure cork blocks will be available at end-of-building-life as either biological or technical nutrients. A CLT floor platform, finished with oak floor boards, rests on Accoya beams supported on steel screw piles. Accoya is also used for the bespoke doors, windows and external steps. Western red cedar weatherboarding is used on the roof and rear façade. All internal built-in joinery and loose furniture is made from spruce. Internally, the exposed cork and timber create a rich, evocative, sensory environment.